ICY SIDEWALKS: Failing to shovel, salt is a costly liability - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

ICY SIDEWALKS: Failing to shovel, salt can create costly liability

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Dealing with bitter cold is bad enough, but walking around the metro can be downright dangerous due to the ice that is covering many sidewalks and parking lots.

When walking on surfaces that could be confused with skating rinks, it can feel a bit like taking your life in your own hands.

"This year, I've fallen twice here," said Ron Haxton. "I wasn't injured but boy, it was tough. I was skinned up."

Haxton said the alternating freezing and thawing are making it hard for homeowners and businesses in Uptown to keep the sidewalks clear of ice and snow.

In most communities, there is a 24-hour deadline after a snowfall to clear sidewalks. Those who don't could be cited and the city will clear the path for a hefty fee. Some cities, like Minneapolis, even offer free sand to help homeowners gain traction in slippery situations.

William Seeley, a personal injury attorney, says letting the ice build up could become a liability.

"It's not only a matter of being a good neighbor," he said. "It's also a matter of protecting yourself legally."

That's because a homeowner could be held legally responsible if someone slips and falls on their property without putting down any salt or sand.

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