As the snow falls, so do people. Precipitation and freezing temperatures
during the winter months can make outdoor sidewalks, stairs, and walkways
extremely slick, causing unsuspecting people to slip and suffer serious
injuries. If you should ever slip in a public place, do you know your rights?
Who Owes Whom a Duty of Care?
Since snow is to be expected during wintertime on the east coast and in
colder regions of the United States, property owners, landlords, and business
owners have a responsibility to take certain measures to clear walkways
of snow and ice to keep pedestrians safe. In many cases, property owners
will contract with plow companies to remove ice from frequently-traveled
areas and maintain the property. Property owners who fail to exercise
this care can oftentimes be held liable for any damages that may result
in the event that a pedestrian should fall and injure themselves on their premises.
It is important to note, however, that pedestrians also owe a duty to exercise
reasonable care when traveling across an obviously snowy or icy surface.
If a person slips while acting in a negligent fashion, their ability to
recover damages can be limited or even barred completely depending on
What is the Hills and Ridges Rule?
Pennsylvania has a special rule applied
slip and fall claims resulting from ice or snow known as the “Hills and Ridges”
rule. This rule states that due the climate of Pennsylvania, it is impossible
to expect property owners to always have their walkways free of ice and
snow. Instead, property owners must take action within a reasonable time
after snowfall to clear the area of danger.
Slip and fall lawsuits from slippery conditions must satisfy the following:
- The snow or ice had accumulated in ridges or elevations that obstructed
travel and created a danger to pedestrians
- The property owner had knowledge of the condition or that it existed for
a long enough period of time to warrant the property owner’s knowledge
- The dangerous accumulation caused a person to fall
This rule only applies to natural accumulation of ice or snow, such as
from a snowstorm. Slippery conditions that result from artificial origin
are not covered under this rule, such as falls resulting from a crack
in a sidewalk where ice was allowed to accumulate or if icy conditions
were the result of a property owner’s neglect.
I’ve Been Injured! What Should I Do?
If you have been injured in a fall on a slippery walkway, it is imperative
that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to review your legal
options. At Laynas & Georges, P.C., our Philadelphia slip and fall
lawyers have more than 30 years’ of dedicated legal experience and
can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Best of all, if we are
not successful on your behalf, you will not pay us a dime!
Get started towards filing a claim by calling (215) 987-3332 or by
contacting our office online today!