BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When the snow falls, your neighbor's safety can become your responsibility.
"95% of the time in Erie County, as a homeowner, the sidewalks around your property are your responsibility," Personal Injurty Attorney Robert Berkun said, "you would be liable if someone was injured on your sidewalk."
For the past 30-years, Berkun has represented those injured in slip and fall accidents. He says a failure to clear your sidewalk can result in dangerous and costly injuries.
"You could incur large medical expenses, lost wages, and their pain and suffering," Berkun said.
According to Berkun, removing snow from sidewalks is not optional.
"You can be fined for not removing the snow and ice, even if someone isn't injured."
The point is to keep sidewalks clear, that means the ice as well. If a sidewalk is not cleared, Berkun says some people will walk in the street to avoid it. Any injuries that occur on the street can fall on the homeowner as well.
"(If) The person had to walk around it and was injured doing so, it is an argument to make as a lawyer that they could be responsible."
The rules can be a little bit different if you are injured due to a lack of plowing at a public building. If that happens, your claim must be made to the city itself within 90 days.
For information on the Law Offices of Robert Berkun and what to do in case you are injured as a result of neglected sidewalks, visit his website here.