By the Brownlee LLP Insurance Defence Team 

If you are a homeowner, the current cycle of warm daytime and freezing nighttime temperatures can be frustrating as you think you need to constantly maintain sidewalks and pathways on your property. Some days you may wonder if the hassle to mitigate the risk to visitors and passersby slipping and falling on a patch of ice or puddled water is worth the effort. Well, yes, it is.

Although less common than slip and fall claims against commercial occupiers, such claims against homeowners still happen. Courts, however, tend to recognize that homeowners are not businesses and do not share the same resources for mitigating slip and fall risks. With a comparably lower standard in court, homeowners should focus less on producing maintenance logs or documents to prove they vetted their contractor, and focus more on proving their efforts to remedy potential slip and fall hazards were reasonable.

Some key points for homeowners to keep in mind are:

  • Watch for and address slippery hazards in a reasonable and timely manner.
  • Ensure your property is well lit.
  • Remove obstructions.
  • Provide clear guidelines to contractors for snow and ice removal.