Information Booklet for Personal Injury Clients
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Wintry weather can be delightful…when you don’t have to deal with it.
But when you’re an adult, snowy weather is mostly just a headache. While your kids are off sledding or building snow men, you’re digging out your car or making sure your pipes don’t freeze.
And then there’s your sidewalk. Keeping it clear after snowy or icy weather isn’t just safe and neighborly, it’s the law. Having a slippery sidewalk can leave you open to a lawsuit if someone slips and falls on your property.
Here’s how liability breaks down:
Pennsylvania law says that a person injured by a fall on snow or ice must show that the property owner knew — or should have known — the situation was dangerous, and failed to take action to make their property safer, either by clearing the snow or posting a warning.
Under state law, property owners have 24 hours until after the show stops falling to either start clearing snow or to provide some sort of warning. This requirement exists because it’s impossible to expect property owners to keep their sidewalks, steps, etc. clear when snow is still accumulating.
State law requires property owners to follow what’s known as the Hills and Ridges Doctrine, which means they need to exercise a duty of care when wintry precipitation accumulates to a point where hills and ridges of snow and ice begin to form. Failing to clear this ice and snow can potentially lead to a case in which you’ll need the assistance of a PA personal injury attorneys.
Under the doctrine, plaintiffs in slip and fall cases need to demonstrate three things:
Rather than worry about the threat of a lawsuit, take action as soon as possible after a storm ends. Here are some tips for keeping your property safe during winter to prevent slip and fall injuries:
If you’ve been injured in a fall and think you may have a case, contact Penglase & Benson. Our PA personal injury attorneys have more than six decades of experience in fighting for people who’ve been hurt due to other people’s negligence. Stay safe out there!