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Get to grips with clearing snow and ice, say lawyers

SENSIBLE: Use a shovel to clear ice and snow

THERE IS every chance of a harsh winter despite a relatively mild Christmas.

However, members of the public do not need to worry about being sued if they use common sense when clearing paths and driveways of ice and snow, says a leading personal injury lawyer.

“After the pre-christmas snowy and icy conditions, the myth is still circulating that you will be held legally responsible if anyone slips on a path or driveway you have cleared,” said Brett Dixon, president of APIL, a national not-for-profit group which represents injured people.

“I am not aware of any successful claims against good neighbours who have cleared paths or driveways. As with any personal injury claim, negligence must be proven for it to succeed.

“Just don’t be reckless with your acts of kindness. Using grit and a shovel to clear ice and snow is a sensible, neighbourly thing to do. But using hot water to melt snow which is then going to refreeze into a dangerous sheet of ice, for example, makes the situation far more dangerous and someone could be hurt,” Mr Dixon explained.

“It is a real shame that a baseless rumour has been allowed to go as far as preventing people from doing good deeds for each other. We need a greater understanding about the difference between accidents which cannot be helped, and negligence which causes needless injuries,” he said.

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