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  In 2010 The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court changed the long-standing law that said property owners (homeowners & businesses) were not liabile for injuries arising from UNTREATED snow and ice accumulations on their property,   This law puts quite a burden on the home or business owner.  If, for example, a homeowner goes on vacation and there's snowfall or a business that is closed on weekends waits until Monday morning to clear their walkway or parking lot after a weekend snowstorm, they are are now liable if someone injured.  Very Important:  This includes areas like sidewalks, walkways, ect. which in many cases are the legal responsibility of the abutting owner to clear, especially in suburban areas but often also in cities.

In addition, snow removal services (Read: The plow guy) could also be dragged into litigation simply for not having plowed a driverway/parking lot in a timely manner.  Many plow operators use their personally insured pickup trucks to plow driveways and parking lots.  Often we're asked to provide proof of insurance for both these and small commercial auto policies.  These policies will provide Property Damage coverage if the plow operator damages something while plowing and liability if they injure someone while plowing, but they do not include Products & Completed Operations coverage in the event someone slips and falls or gets into an accident on plowed surfaces AND if the plowing is not performed in a timely manner.  Separate snow removal policies can be purchased which will cover these events and they're generally pretty reasonable when you consider what's at stake and how much can be earned in a plowing season.

Following is a link to the law itself including Mass Regs and links to City & Town bylaws:

http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/snow.html

Also, some helpful information from the Mass Real Estate Law Blog:

http://www.massrealestatelawblog.com/2010/07/28/massachusetts-property-owners-now-have-legal-responsibility-to-shovel-and-treat-snow-and-ice-on-property/
Posted 11:35 AM  View Comments

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Attlleboro, MA 02703
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