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When Should a Property Owner Remove Snow in Connecticut?

December 29, 2023Articles

“Let it Snow” may be a popular song for the holiday season, but when the weather outside is truly frightful, part of the fear is of experiencing a hard fall and serious injuries during your daily routine of work, school, errands, and other activities.

When snow and ice accumulate, it’s important to know when property owners must remove this potential slip-and-fall hazard from their property and when failure to do so leaves them liable for damages to anyone injured on the property.

Premises Liability in Slip-and-Fall Accidents in Connecticut

Those who own property in Connecticut have a legal duty to take reasonable measures to prevent those lawfully on the property from injuries. If they breach this duty and someone falls and suffers serious injuries, the property owner is liable for damages like their medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering. Typically, compensation comes from the property owner’s premises liability insurance.

Snow, ice, and slippery slush are serious fall hazards during winters in cold climates like Connecticut. Property owners have a legal obligation to remove or treat these hazards to protect others from harm, but how soon after snow falls must the property owner ensure its removal?

What is the “Ongoing Storm Doctrine” in Connecticut?

Both property owners and fall victims sometimes wonder just how soon after a snowstorm the law compels the property owner to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks, walkways, and steps. This is especially significant for commercial property owners who invite others onto their property for business purposes such as stores, restaurants, and cafes, but it also applies to private homeowners who receive deliveries or have other invitees on the property such as workmen, mailmen, and garbage collectors.

According to Connecticut’s “Ongoing Storm Doctrine” invitees to a property or those legally allowed to be on a property should give property owners a “reasonable amount of time” after a snowstorm to remove snow and ice from the property before having the reasonable expectation of safely entering the property. In other words, if the snowfall isn’t completely over, more snow could still be falling, or it’s very soon after a snowfall, the property owner isn’t liable for damages if someone falls on the property because the fall victim didn’t give them a reasonable amount of time to remove or treat the snow.

When Can a Slip-and-Fall Victim in Connecticut Bring a Lawsuit Against a Property Owner for Snow and Ice?

Slip-and-fall victims who suffer significant damages from a fall caused by slippery winter weather conditions may be able to file a successful claim for their damages under specific conditions. A fall victim must show evidence of the following:


  • That the ice and snow on a property is an older accumulation
  • The property owner was aware of the hazard
  • The owner had a reasonable amount of time to remove the snow and ice, treat it with salt, or otherwise address the safety hazard to those lawfully on the property
  • They suffered significant damages from their fall, such as medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering

When a property owner who owes a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries to others fails to address an obvious safety hazard, they breach their duty of care and are responsible for damages to the fall victim.