A Winter Walk

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Q: One Winter day, I was walking on a sidewalk alongside a County road. A pile of accumulated snow was obstructing the sidewalk, and so I needed to walk on the roadway. There I was struck by a car.

A: Quite possibly, the County’s negligent plowing of snow created this obstruction of the sidewalk – exposing you to the danger of walking in the roadway.

The County is likely to contend that its negligence, if any, was not the ‘proximate cause’ of your accident – for example, that the acts of the driver intervened between the County’s conduct and your injury, severing the ‘causal connection’. However, an intervening act does not constitute a superseding cause sufficient to relieve a defendant of liability unless it is (a) extraordinary under the circumstances, (b) not foreseeable in the normal course of events, or (c) independent of or far removed from the defendant’s conduct. Seemingly, the driver’s act in hitting you was a natural and foreseeable consequence of the County’s negligence.

Presumably, the County has enacted a ‘prior written notice statute’. Unless an exception applies, the County may not be subjected to liability for injuries caused by an improperly maintained street or sidewalk unless it has received written notice of the defect. Because the County’s snow plowing operations caused snow to be deposited onto the sidewalk, an exception applies: the County itself created the defective condition through an affirmative act of negligence.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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