Vision Obstructed By A Snow Pile- Is There Municipal Liability?

Date: February 16, 2011
Posted In: DLP Law

            John came to a stop at the intersection but, because of a large mound of snow left by a  city plow, he was not able to see to his right. John decided he had to pull into the intersection a little to be able to see around the mound of snow which had been deposited by the snow plow. Unfortunately, Tammy was coming from John\’s right and struck John\’s car on the right front passenger corner.

            John said that he did everything he could in a cautious manner and that the accident was unpreventable. Tammy stated that she was minding her own business and just driving when John pulled partially out in front of her through the stop sign.

ISSUE:          Would the municipality have any responsibility for the damage to Tammy\’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.