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Tuesday, February 16, 2021

In Kentucky, is the property owner liable for removal of snow and ice?

IMG: Jeff Heilman, Fort Thomas Matters Facebook

By Steve Franzen, Campbell County Attorney 

Given the impressive amount of snow we have been experiencing, I thought it would be helpful to revisit the legal ramifications this can have for property owners.  

When someone slips and falls on snow or ice on your property, even if the hazard is open and obvious, the injured person may possibly sue you for negligence.  In Kentucky, these types of negligence actions are subject to comparative fault.  This means that each party potentially responsible is attributed a percentage of the fault for the damage that occurred.  Ultimately, an injured person can still recover even if that person is 99% at fault for the injury, although any judgment they received would be reduced by their percentage of fault.  In this example, the judgment would be reduced by 99%.
In addition, cities may enact their own snow and ice removal ordinances.  For example, § 91.33 of the City of Alexandria, Kentucky Code of Ordinances states that “it shall be the duty of the owner or the occupant of each and every parcel of real estate in the city abutting upon any sidewalk to keep the sidewalk abutting his premises free and clear of snow and ice to the extent feasible under the prevailing weather conditions, and to remove therefrom all snow and ice, to the extent feasible under the prevailing weather conditions, accumulated therein within a reasonable time which will ordinarily not exceed twelve (12) hours after the abatement of any storm during which the snow and ice may have accumulated.”  

This type of ordinance is commonly found in other jurisdictions as well, so be sure to check your local ordinances to avoid penalties for any violations.  
It is worth mentioning that the Campbell County Road Department assumes responsibility for snow/ice removal on Campbell County maintained roads.  Stay safe, healthy, and warm!
If you have any topics you would like to have covered in this column, please contact my office by e-mail at, by phone at 491-7700 or by regular mail addressed to 319 York Street, Newport, Kentucky 41071.


  1. so does Ft thomas have any ordinance?

    1. I wondered why this wasn't addressed. I called the city a couple weeks ago and they said they didn't have anything specific to snow off of sidewalks but that you cannot shovel snow from your property in to the streets.

  2. Not helpful except for people in Alexandria who have sidewalks. What about properties in in cities? A nice list would help everyone know what to expect and what to do. BTW, where I grew up in Wisconsin and NY, it did not matter what the town decreed: clearing the walk was just what you did.