A property owner may by liable for a pedestrian’s slip, trip, and/or fall, on leaves on the property owner’s walkway or sidewalk. A walkway or sidewalk with an accumulation of leaves, especially when wet, creates a dangerous condition, which can cause slip, trips, and falls; wet leaves are slippery and often cause one to lose their balance. Furthermore, accumulations of leaves can hide tripping hazards, which in turn increases the risk of trips and falls. With that being said, There are a number of circumstances under which a property owner would be liable for an accident caused by the presence of leaves on the ground.
A homeowner or property owner must keep their property in good repair and safe for pedestrian use. When a property owner has notice of an accumulation of leaves which might create a hazard, the owner has a duty to remedy the hazardous condition. If leaves have accumulated on walkways or driveways where people are expected to walk and the owner has notice of the leaves, they have a duty to clean the leaves from the walking surface. If the owner fails to properly keep their property free of hazardous leaves, the owner will be liable for any injuries incurred by pedestrians.
Most municipalities have codes or laws requiring property owners to keep the abutting sidewalks free of dirt, debris, litter, snow, and/or leaves. Even if the code does not specifically mention leaves, the clearing of leaves would fall under the general requirement to keep the sidewalk clean. In situations where the code, law, or rule states the property owner may be liable for failing to keep the sidewalk clean, the property owner will be liable for any injuries caused by the failure.
Liability may be imposed on the abutting landowner when the abutting landowner affirmatively created the dangerous condition or used the sidewalk for their special benefit causing the injury. When a property owner has trees on their property and leaves from the trees fall onto a public sidewalk, the property owner may be held liable for the dangerous condition of the leaves which fell from their trees onto the sidewalk, if they caused injury.
If someone has slipped or tripped and suffered injuries, due to an accumulation of leaves on walkways, driveways, or sidewalks, they should consult a lawyer about their rights.
The law firm of Zalman Schnurman & Miner is experienced in handling all types of slip, trip and fall cases. All consultations are free and all cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. For a free consultation call 1-800-LAWLINE (1-800-529-5463) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.