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This time of year in Wisconsin presents many opportunities to encounter slippery sidewalks, parking lots and stairs. Wisconsin winters can be tough. Everyone knows, be careful when walking on snow or ice.
Property owners are not required to ensure that their sidewalk, parking lots or stairways are completely free of snow or ice. That would be an impossible burden. However, property owners have responsibility to do what is reasonable to remove snow and ice to protect pedestrians.
The duties on a private citizen are different than the duties on a business owner. Because a business owner makes money from pedestrians coming onto their property, the law places a higher duty on them. If a business owner is going to open their doors to the public to make a living, they have to make certain that their property is as safe as it can be for those customers.
The Wisconsin legislature has long ago enacted what is commonly called the “Safe Place Statutes.” They require a business owner to do what is reasonably necessary to keep their property as safe as its nature would reasonably permit. This typically includes paying attention to the weather, shoveling and plowing snow and, if necessary, putting down salt. The duties typically can include putting down salt before an ice event so that it can work to prevent ice from formi …Read more
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