Snow Piles At Intersections

Date: February 15, 2015
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Al was driving to the grocery store on a cold, February, Pennsylvania morning. As Al came to a stop at an intersection, he was not able to see to his right as his view was obstructed by a large pile of snow left by a City plow. Al decided to inch forward into the intersection in order to see around the mound of snow which had been deposited by the snow plow. Unfortunately, Sam was coming from Al’s right and struck Al’s car on the right front passenger corner.

Al said that he did everything he could in a cautious manner and that the accident was unpreventable. Sam stated that he was minding his own business and just driving when Al pulled partially out in front of him through the stop sign.

ISSUE:          Would the municipality have any responsibility for the damage to Sam’s car?

ANSWER:     No.  A municipality is not responsible for the temporary accumulation of snow at the corners of intersections caused by plowing. The only time a municipality would have liability for conditions of the road is for the actual construction of the road and/or maintenance. There would be liability for potholes, but the municipal government that is responsible for the road must be given notice of the same and given a reasonable time to fix the pothole.

Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive.  Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column. 

Tom Cummings
Thomas P. Cummings has been a Partner with Dougherty Leventhal & Price, LLP since 1996 and has been with the firm since 1991. He focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability and personal injury cases.