Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

4 Bumps

Who's at fault? (or is anyone involved not at fault)

The towns around here have sidewalk clearing ordinances. You are required by law to get the snow off the sidewalks within a set time frame (less than 2 days). They didn't always enforce it, but now with the economy so bad, they have been issuing fines for not doing it. It hasn't snowed here all week, but it hasn't all melted yet.

On the news just now, they were talking about an accident the next town over - guy driving at night, hit some men walking in the road, wearing dark clothes. They said they were in the road because the sidewalk was buried. Driver couldn't see them until he was right on top of them.

Yes, the pedestrians take some blame for walking on the wrong side of the road in dark clothes, but what about the property owner? I have a feeling if the city goes after them, people may quit blowing that law off. Then's been a week - why didn't the city catch them and fine them? (part of that fine is a penalty and part is supposed to pay for city crews to clear the sidewalk). You know somebody is going to be sued before this is all over - who should it be?

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 8:56 AM on Feb. 17, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (19)
  • If they are all not at fault, then I would suspect they all could be at fault.
    the driver will be sued because he has an insurance company in the black right now.
    you can't get blood out of a turnip, and there is no reason to sue any entity that is broke.
    lawyers bring to court the entity that is able to pay, and right now that would be the auto

    Answer by jewjewbee at 9:00 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • I am not entirely sure as far as the lawsuit goes. However, I am really freaked out by the ordinance. What about the elderly, disabled, people on vacation or who work nights or 16 hour days, etc?

    Answer by hibbingmom at 9:00 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • How much of your city-town budget do you think should be allocated to enforcement of snow removal? Perhaps you could form a vigilanti group to go around and put reminders on the peoples doors and threaten reporting them and let them know what the punishment is. Better yet form a group of volunteers to go out and help those in need to get their sidewalks shoveled. Some of them might be old, pregnant and/or infirmed. How about organize a service group at your local highschool to do snow shoveling. Let us know what you decide to do.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 9:01 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • Honestly, I don't know in this case that I think anyone should be sued. As a pedestrian, you take a calculated risk walking in a street. Walking through snow won't kill you.

    The homeowner should have shoveled the sidewalk however I can't imagine they would have thought someone would have died because of their inaction. If the city issued a citation and didn't have the sidewalk cleared at the homeowner's expense, then I guess they could technically be held liable.

    That said, the pedestrian chose to walk in the street as opposed to walking on a snow covered sidewalk.  I feel that the pedestrian is at fault. (this probably won't be popular)


    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:02 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • What about the elderly, disabled, people on vacation or who work nights or 16 hour days, etc?

    Elderly and disabled can get special arrangements (same criteria as handicapped plates). Anyone else is expected to maintain their property just like they are expected to mow their lawn.

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 9:02 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • well i'm sure most all that snow has done melted by its a little too late to be out investigating the scene of "whose property the snow was on"..i say if the guy is gonna be sue happy he should go after the city. If they are gonna make laws then they need to enforce them

    Answer by shay1130 at 9:03 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • Foreseeabilty for any of the possible future defendants will be the kicker, IMO.

    Answer by jewjewbee at 9:04 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • The city had ample time to enforce the law. However they may not have had the manpower to enforce the law due to other issues regarding the weather. Could be an interesting story to keep up with.


    Answer by zebbiebug at 9:25 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • In my "old life" I was an insurance adjuster (yucky job BTW) and the basic premise is- the operator of the vehicle bears whats called ultimate duty-which in short means you are operating a machine capable of great harm so you have a duty to be aware of any foreseeable circumstance and adjust accordingly-if there is snow you would have a duty to assume people are walking in the streets (direction does not matter) and adjust your speed and cautiousness accordingly- if the person stepped out into traffic that is one thing, but if you hit someone walking down the street regardless of the reason you are primarily at fault- some states have a comparative negligence clause where a number of parties can be held responsible for a % of the negligence but many states are pure negligence states where more than likely the driver in this accident would be held at fault for not be aware of what/who is in your path CONT

    Answer by soyousay at 9:40 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

  • Even without snow- people walk on the roadway and in a non-comparative negligence state if there are not signs to the contrary (like on some highways) you can and most likely will be held liable for hitting a pedestrian.

    Answer by soyousay at 9:41 AM on Feb. 17, 2011

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.