Who's responsible if you fall and get injured while walking on an icy sidewalk?

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live)- With the weather we've had recently, it's easy to slip and fall on an icy sidewalk.

Sanford Hospital says over the last week, between its Emergency Department and Urgent Care Clinics, they've seen 60 people for injuries that occurred from falling on the ice.

The City of Fargo and West Fargo say homeowners, apartment owners and business owners are responsible for cleaning snow and ice from their land and the adjacent sidewalks.

"It is in our city ordinance that they are responsible for the maintenance of that sidewalk and the ice clearing and the snow. If they fail to do so, someone trips and falls or someone slips and falls, they are absolutely liable," says Ben Dow, Director of Public Works for the City of Fargo.

Dow says people not cleaning snow and ice from sidewalks is a growing problem in the City of Fargo. And in the past three years, complaints have been going up.

"Last year we did about 1,500 complaints and this year we're somewhere between 400 and 500 complaints already," says Dow.

Fargo's enforcement process for uncleaned sidewalks is that the Public Works Department takes a complaint, an inspector gives the property owner a notice telling them they have 24 hours to clean it up. Then after 24 hours they inspect it again and if it's not cleaned up the city does it and bills the property owner for their work.

"Our standard charge is $75. Anything above that, that covers a 50 foot lot, is a dollar a foot," says Dow.

West Fargo says they give property owners 48 hours to clean it up. West Fargo charges property owners for the amount of property they had to clean, the time it took and the equipment they used.

It's a bill that Dow says can quickly add up.

But some property owners can take extra steps to prevent that from happening, such as using ice melt or shoveling after a winter storm.

In recent years, products like ice melt have been in short supply. Retailers said they don't have a problem with it being on the shelves this year, at least for now.

The Fargo Public Works Department recommends you call them if you have a problem with a sidewalk that hasn't been cleaned off.
Their number is (701)-241-1453.