Natural-Accumulation Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Natural-Accumulation Doctrine is a legal principle which exempts a governmental entity or other landowner from removing naturally occurring ice or snow from public property, such as a highway, unless the entity has, by taking some affirmative action increased the travel hazard to the public. In short, under this doctrine a governmental agency has no obligation to remove a natural accumulation of snow or ice from a highway. The presence of snow or ice on a highway which causes difficulty for travelers does not constitute negligence on the part of a governmental agency. However, an unnatural accumulation of snow or ice on a highway like that created by highway construction can create liability if the unnatural accumulation increased the hazard beyond that presented by the natural accumulation.