ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Sidewalks all over St Louis are still covered with snow, but who is liable if someone gets hurt on the sidewalk in front of a home?

The sidewalks are technically public property, but the City of St. Louis said they are the homeowner's responsibility.

While some residents can simply avoid slippery sidewalks, professionals like mail carriers and delivery drivers visit dozens of houses each day, and have no choice but to deal with the treacherous terrain. So what if someone gets hurt on a slippery sidewalk?

Personal injury attorney Ed Brown with the firm Brown and Brown said the rule of thumb is… no one.

“[The homeowner] is not liable because Missouri law states snow is a natural accumulation. It’s something Mother Nature provides and nobody has a duty or liability if someone slips and falls in the snow and ice in front of your house,” he said.

But, exceptions can occur if a homeowner makes the situation worse.

For example, running a hose in freezing weather that creates a hazard could leave a homeowner liable.

The same rules don't necessarily apply to businesses, however.

“With businesses, you are invited,” Brown said. “They do have a duty to throw some salt down and keep those people from slipping in front of their business.”

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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