Burnett & Williams

After the Big Snow hits Virginia, Who is in Responsible for Snow Removal?

After the Big Snow hits Virginia, Who is in Responsible for Snow Removal?


This time it looks like the Big Snow may actually come.  If it dumps as much as predictions are indicating, everyone will be pitching in to dig our way out, but are any of us obligated to do so?  The laws vary from place to place around Virginia, so it is best to check your local government websites for the most accurate information.  In general, though, business and homeowners are responsible for clearing walkways around their property.

This article caught our eye as a good source of information about local regulations in Northern Virginia cities and counties.  Fairfax City, Fairfax County, and Prince William County residents aren’t legally required to remove snow, but are encouraged to do so.  Falls Church and Manassas residents must clear sidewalks within 12 hours after the snow.  In most parts of Loudoun County, property owners have six hours, or until noon the day after a nighttime snowfall, to clear sidewalks. The exception is on Sundays, when you have until noon Monday.

In Richmond and Hopewell local regulations require that the snow be removed from sidewalks within 6 hours of the end of snowfall (11am or 12n respectively if it stops in the night).  In Fort Lee, the regulations require simply keeping your car out of the roadways.

In all cases, it is important to realize that these regulations can have an impact in a personal injury case.  If someone slips and falls, or gets another kind of serious injury on a property that is in violation of the law, the case against the owner becomes much stronger.  Put another way, if you don’t follow the law and someone is injured because of that, there’s a good chance you’ll be held liable for damages.

Be safe. Be neighborly. And – apart from shoveling – we hope you enjoy this year’s Big Snow.

In some places, elderly and disabled residents get a pass