Is a tenant liable for running into the garage door of their building if the ramp was fully covered in snow and hadn’t been cleaned?

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Is a tenant liable for running into the garage door of their building if the ramp was fully covered in snow and hadn’t been cleaned?

The building is responsible to plow the snow.

Asked on March 14, 2015 under Accident Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The tenant may be liable, since even if the ramp were snow covered, assuming that the snow was visible, the tenant would then be expected to drive appropriately for that condition (i.e. very slowly).

The building would generally only be liable if the following two conditions are met:

1) The building would have had to have had reasonable chance (i.e. enough time) to plow, etc. the ramp. They are not required to do so in "real time" as the snow falls, just to take reasonable steps, similar to those which a homeowner would do to clear his/her driveway or sidewalk, to clean off the snow.

2) If the above were the case, then still only if the tenant were driving completely appropriately for snow conditions but still lost control because it was impossible to maintain control--that is, the snow, and not the tenant going too fast, must have caused the accident.


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