Massachusett’s courts used to distinguish slip and fall on snow and ice cases between natural accumulations and man made efforts to move the snow and ice, with the former not being the fault of the homeowner.
Today, the snow and ice cases have been merged into one rule; a property owner now has a general duty to use reasonable care to maintain its property, in a safe condition, in view of all circumstances. The phrase “in view of all circumstances” means that the courts will not place the same duty on a private homeowner as they might place on a large retail operation which encourages people to visit its site to shop.
Falling on public sidewalks raises more complicated legal issues because of the possible duty of two or more entities being liable for their maintenance, along with local ordinances and legal roadblocks to suing municipalities and the state. Call me if you have any particular fact pattern about which you want to obtain more legal guidance. Doug Stoddart 508-243-4877.