Visitor Question

Does a store have a duty to keep their sidewalk clear?

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

After a snowstorm I fell while walking out of a store and broke my leg. I am suing for my injuries but I was told by my doctor that I probably would not prevail because it was an act of nature.

Is he correct? Doesn’t the store have a duty to keep their sidewalk clear? Don’t they have to pay the medical bills for my broken leg? Thanks for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

The store is only liable if you fell on the store’s property. The store has a “Duty of Care” to its customers to keep the pathways and parking lots clear of snow, water, and ice. If at the time you fell there was a blizzard or snowstorm going on and it was virtually impossible for the store owner to keep the parking lot clear, that might be considered an Act of God. Whether or not the store owner knew there was an accumulation of snow, water or ice may be irrelevant. He “should” have known.

Contact the store owner and explain what happened. Hopefully at the time of your fall you notified the store manager or one of its employees. Without proof of your fall and resulting injury you may have a very difficult time recovering any amount of money.

See if the store made an Incident Report of some type. If they did you shouldn’t have much of a problem being compensated for your injuries. Ask the store owner to refer the matter to his insurance company. That should start the ball rolling.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: May 21, 2012

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