• Germany's news in English
 

Snow fall leads to criminal charge

Published: 11 Dec 2012 09:51 GMT+01:00

Half of Germany has been waking up this week to the sound of scraping and brushing as landlords and house-owners arise before dawn to clear the pavements of snow.

Poorly cleared snowy pavements often lead to accidents - and a hefty bill for compensation for the house owner, whose legal duty it is to clear a walkway - but charges are rare, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said on Tuesday.

Click here to see more pictures of the weekend's snowfall

Yet the 32-year-old man was in court in Augsburg on Monday facing charges of causing injury by negligence after a woman fell over outside his house and suffered strained ligaments.

The 44-year-old woman not only sued for compensation, but also filed a criminal charge, which was taken up by the state prosecutor, who demanded he be fined a fine of 25 days' income.

The man told the court his grandmother had cleared the snow that morning - but the woman said there was ice on the pavement which had caused her fall. The court dismissed the case and the man was acquitted.

Most towns and local councils require house-owners to clear the snow next to their property, and have rules about pavements being cleared before 7 am, and keeping them clear until 8 pm.

Click here for The Local's weather forecast

A brief interlude of above-freezing for much of the country on Monday, followed by freezing temperatures during the night left many areas with treacherous conditions for cars and people. The German Weather Service (DWD) forecast double-digit minus temperatures by the middle of the week.

The Local/hc

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:48 December 11, 2012 by raandy
I think as long as you are making an attempt to keep the walk way clear , then you have done your part.If someone falls its not nice but how can the owner be held responsible as long as the weather continues to snow and low temps cause ice.

What about the city, do they have any responsibility to keep pedestrian walk ways clear and sanded?
11:57 December 11, 2012 by gkh50
Bonkers. one of the many bonkers laws. I guess you are expected to take time off work when it snows so you can keep clearing it away.

Mad, mad mad.
12:05 December 11, 2012 by auniquecorn
Thats what we have our grandmothers for, right?
13:01 December 11, 2012 by raandy
auniquecorn LOL, good one
13:57 December 11, 2012 by lucksi
The city can simply put up a sign "Kein Winterdienst auf diesem Weg" -no snow plowing services on this walkway- and be free of the burden. The normal people can't.

Every year, we have the problem with hanging icycles and roof avalanches. The home owners are also liable for those. Yet, you can't clear them because cars are parking too close to the house.
14:40 December 11, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
So if a bird slips and hurts itself on my balcony due to ice and snow I am liable for animal cruelty?
19:53 December 11, 2012 by 9900lawre
There is the following caviat writen into the European H&S laws which is why so many cases get thrown out. The wording is 'Where practicable and reasonable'. It is reasonable to expect someone to take 10 minutes before work and 10 mintures after their work to clear snow away from any access to help prevent a build up of snow that may cause obstruction and harm to others. It is not however reasonable nor practicable to come home every time the snow stops just to do this. In the case of a buisness where the empoyees may have to, it is reasonable. It is not however practicle to clear snow whilst it is still falling as this is better known as P!$$!ng into the wind!

On Sunday i saw a man sit on his &r$£ next to an icy spot on the pavement waiting for a car to stop and see if he was alright (obviously to claim some easy money). I so wish he was sat next to an icy puddle when i drove past. That would have been an insurance excess i would have gladly paid for a laugh.
16:39 December 12, 2012 by Englishted
I left for work at 5am this morning it had snowed and was still snowing ,what should I have done? scraped the pavement at 4.30 ? .

I came home from work at 4pm and then did it ,oh no what a criminal I am .
17:47 December 12, 2012 by raandy
9900lawre 'Where practicable and reasonable'. that is excellent, good wording, it could have easily said "Be a good neighbor and help clear the snow off the walk way , when your not busy.
22:26 December 12, 2012 by NordicStar
Just curious to know, what happens if such house owners have winter holidays and travel out of Germany?

Does having such walk path next to a house make the real estate price lower for the house?
17:22 December 13, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Does the fact I live on the 4th floor exempt me from responsibility of clearing the pavement in front of the house? I can clear the window ledges though.
19:07 December 13, 2012 by Englishted
@Berlin fuer alles

You may be on a rota and your time will come ,just look out for a very official letter from the resident committee.At the moment it is the fourth flat on floor two so it is coming.
Today's headlines
Poland bridles at German minimum wage
Photo: DPA

Poland bridles at German minimum wage

Germany's newly-introduced €8.50 minimum wage is raising hackles at Polish trucking companies, who say they shouldn't have to pay their drivers at that rate for the hours they spend on their western neighbour's roads. READ  

Life sentences meted out in murder-for-hire
A man photographs an appeal for witnesses in the death of Christin R. in 2012. Photo: DPA

Life sentences meted out in murder-for-hire

A Berlin judge on Thursday sentenced four people to life sentences in a sordid conspiracy murder case in which a pizza delivery driver was paid €500 to kill a young woman for her life insurance. READ  

Jobless numbers rise to top 3 million
Men at work. Photo: DPA

Jobless numbers rise to top 3 million

German jobless numbers rose this month, bringing unemployment up to seven percent, the Federal Labour Agency (BA) reported on Thursday. READ  

Frankfurt man loses airport job over Isis links
Security checks at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Frankfurt man loses airport job over Isis links

In a decision announced on Wednesday, a Frankfurt court upheld the dismissal of a man from his job at Frankfurt airport over his close friendship with a foreign citizen with ties to terrorist group Isis. READ  

Cologne Karneval scraps Charlie Hebdo float
Image courtesy Festkomittee Kölner Karneval

Cologne Karneval scraps Charlie Hebdo float

Cologne's planned Charlie Hebdo float in its Rosenmontag parade was a false start, after the organising committee scrapped its construction over security concerns. READ  

Overnight raids bust up smugglers ring
File photo: DPA

Overnight raids bust up smugglers ring

Federal police arrested 12 people on Wednesday night after a national raid by police broke apart a smuggling ring. READ  

Anti-euro AfD split over Pegida ties
Former Pegida spokesperson Kathrin Oertel and Brandenburg head of AfD Alexander Gauland. Photo: DPA

Anti-euro AfD split over Pegida ties

Germany's upstart anti-euro AfD party will seek to mend a rift among members on whether to forge close ties with an emergent "anti-Islamisation" movement at a congress this weekend. READ  

Court grants kids right to know donor fathers
Photo: DPA

Court grants kids right to know donor fathers

The Supreme Court (BGH) decided on Wednesday that the children of sperm donors have a right to know who their biological father is at any time. READ  

Russia may declare 1990 reunification illegal
Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: DPA

Russia may declare 1990 reunification illegal

More than 25 years after the Berlin Wall's fall, Russian lawmakers are mulling a proposal to condemn West Germany's 1990 "annexation" of East Germany as Moscow's answer to Western denunciation of its seizure of Crimea. READ  

No room for scooters on the bus: Court
Photo: DPA

No room for scooters on the bus: Court

A court in North-Rhine Westphalia found on Wednesday that there is no obligation for buses or trains to make room for mobility scooters - and that it's actually dangerous to bring them aboard. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,451
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd