PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Freezing rain and snow over the weekend made road conditions treacherous for drivers, and pedestrians haven’t had it easy, either.
The sidewalks are slippery and many people are having trouble getting around.
“I’m walking really carefully,” one woman said Monday afternoon. “We were actually just kind of sliding around, kind of ice skating home.”
So, what happens if you take a tumble on a frozen sidewalk?
Portland attorney Greg Kafoury tells KOIN 6 News he’s represented clients who have fallen in slippery store parking lots. But it’s not that easy to prove it’s the property owner’s fault.
In these types of cases, there’s something called a reasonableness standard.
“The owner of property adjacent to the sidewalk has a responsibility to keep the sidewalk safe,” Kafoury explained.
That means businesses are supposed to clear the sidewalk in front of their buildings.
Homeowners are also responsible for removing ice and snow in front of their property. It’s up to them to put sand, salt, gravel or even a warning sign to help pedestrians who may walk by.
“If there’s a case of someone falling on a sidewalk the defendant can always say, conditions were so bad you shouldn’t have been walking. Or, you’re not wearing the proper shoes,” Kafoury said. “So comparative fault is always an issue as well.”
Homeowner’s and property insurance plans typically help cover these types of incidents.
Cities are responsible for clearing streets, but that doesn’t include sidewalks. Unless, of course, they border city buildings or other city-owned property.