MGL c. 40, § 21 (2), (3), and (4)
Towns may create bylaws relative to snow and ice on buildings and sidewalks
MGL c. 84, § 15
A county, city, town, or person obliged to repair may be liable for injury or damage from defects on ways
MGL c. 84, § 17
A county, city, or town is not liable for injury or damage from snow or ice on a public way if the place where the accident happened was otherwise reasonably safe and convenient for travelers
MGL c. 84, §§ 18-20
A person must notify the county, city, or town of injury or damage from snow or ice on a public way within 30 days
MGL c. 84, § 21
A person must notify the owner of private property of injury or damage from snow or ice on their premises within 30 days
MGL c. 85, § 5
Cities by ordinance and towns may require removal of snow and ice from sidewalks : penalties
MGL c. 85, § 6
Towns may accept this section, remove snow and ice from its permanent sidewalks, and assess the whole or any part of the cost of removal to the abutters
MGL c. 85, § 7
Abutters may procure an exemption from an assessment by stipulating that they will remove snow and ice from the sidewalk, on which their estates abut, at such times and in such manner as the appropriate municipal officers shall direct
MGL c. 85, § 7A
Persons may not store chemicals used for the removal of snow or ice in such a manner or place as to subject a water supply or groundwater supply to the risk of contamination
105 CMR 410.452 Safe Condition: Responsibility for clearing walk and stairs (Landlord-Tenant)
310 CMR 22.21(2) file size 2MB Regulating the storage of chemicals used for the removal of snow or ice
780 CMR 1001.3.1 Maintenance of Exterior Stairs and Fire Escapes. All exterior stairways and fire escapes shall be kept free of snow and ice
Papadopoulos v. Target Corp.
, 457 Mass. 368 (2010)
Overruling the old rule which distinguished liability based upon natural and unnatural accumulations of snow and ice, the Court decided that the same obligation that a property owner owes to lawful visitors as to all other hazards will apply to hazards arising from snow and ice. That is a duty to “act as a reasonable person under all of the circumstances including the likelihood of injury to others, the probable seriousness of such injuries, and the burden of reducing or avoiding the risk.” The premises liability standard of reasonable care applies retroactively to injuries from slips and falls arising from accumulations of snow and ice.
Sheehan v. City of Lynn
, 269 Mass. 571 (1930)
Where snow and ice combine with a defective condition to cause injury on a public way, an action may arise under MGL c. 84, § 15
- The Abolition of the Natural Accumulation Defense in Snow and Ice Cases: An overview of Papadopoulos v. Target Corp. , 5 Boston Bar Journal 6, Winter, 2011
- Every Landlord's Legal Guide , Nolo, 2014. Chapter 10: Dangerous Conditions. Requires library card for access.
- Massachusetts Snow Resources, Mass.gov Portal.
Includes information on all aspects of winter snow, including pet safety, sidewalk snow removal regulations, transportation and safety information and much more.
- , Executive Office of Public Safety. "There is a misconception that various restrictions or bans automatically are triggered when there is a Gubernatorial State of Emergency in place. This is not so. The declaration of a State of Emergency does not in itself affect the operation of private enterprise. Travel is not automatically banned; businesses are not automatically closed. Many businesses do have contractual agreements with their employees regarding who does/does not have to report to work when a Gubernatorial State of Emergency is issued."
- The Law of Premises Liability : tort liability of the owner or occupier of real property for harm inflicted upon persons while on the premises and for harm inflicted by persons who become intoxicated while on the premises, 4th ed., LexisNexis, loose-leaf. Chapter 7: The Slip-and-fall Case
- Mass. Practice v.37A (Tort Law) , 3rd ed., West, 2005 w/supplement. Chapter 21: Owners and Possessors of Land
- Massachusetts Tort Law Manual , 2nd ed., MCLE, loose-leaf. Chapter 9: Slip and Fall
- Premises Liability , 3rd ed., West, 2002 with supplement. Volume 3, Chapter 52: Ice and Snow
- Premises Liability Law and Practice , Matthew Bender, loose-leaf. Volume 2, Chapter 8A: Slip & Fall Injuries; Volume 5, Chapter 30, Part A: Forms: Slip & Fall Cases
- Slip and Fall Practice , 2nd ed., James Pub., loose-leaf. Chapter 22: Falls on Ice and Snow
- Slips, Trips, Missteps, and Their Consequences , 2nd ed., Lawyers & Judges Pub. Co., 2007
- 'Tis the Season: Handling and Trying Snow and Ice Cases , Mass. Bar Institute, 2010
Last update: January 27, 2016