Need Legal Help? Call 215.925.4451

Pennsylvania Sidewalk Accident Law – Local Government Liability

Phil Blackman-Pennsylvania New Jersey Personal Injury LawyerPublished on behalf of Philip Blackman, an experienced personal injury lawyer who has devoted his entire career to helping individuals and families who have been injured due to medical malpractice, car accidents, fall accidents and more. FREE Consultations: 215.925.4451

Sidewalk accidents can cause significant injuries, especially to the hands, arms, legs and feet. Broken bones and head injuries are very common. Sidewalk accidents are often caused by:

  • gaps,
  • tree roots,
  • missing/broken parts,
  • sunken/uneven areas,
  • debris, and
  • snow/ice.

Pennsylvania Sidewalk Accident Liability Law

Under a Pennsylvania law known as the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, local municipalities or local agencies, like the Philadelphia city government, are generally immune from liability. However, there are several exceptions.

Section 8542(b) of the Act defines each of the exceptions. One exception provides for sidewalk liability:

(7) Sidewalks. – A dangerous condition of sidewalks within the rights-of-way of streets owned by the local agency, except that the claimant to recover must establish that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred and that the local agency had actual notice or could reasonably be charged with notice under the circumstances of the dangerous condition at a sufficient time prior to the event to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition. When a local agency is liable for damages under this paragraph by reason of its power and authority to require installation and repair of sidewalks under the care, custody and control of other persons, the local agency shall be secondarily liable only and such other person shall be primarily liable.

How to Prove Liability Against a Pennsylvania Local Government in a Sidewalk Defect Case

Under the Tort Claims Act, a person who is injured in a sidewalk accident must prove that the local agency: 1. had actual notice of the dangerous condition, and 2. had opportunity to fix the condition. If the agency did not have actual notice, there must be circumstances sufficient to charge the agency with notice.

Evidence related to the defect, such as how long it existed, how large the defect was, etc. are all important factors. For example, the larger the defect, the better the argument that the local agency had notice of it. In addition, prior complaints and prior accidents are also very important. These factors help establish that the local agency had actual notice of the dangerous condition.

It is important to note that under the Tort Claims Act, lawsuits against local agencies must be preserved by filing a special notice within 180 days of the accident. Therefore, sidewalk accident victims should speak to a knowledgeable sidewalk accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Related Legal Article: Pennsylvania Sidewalk Accident Law – Defendants in a Sidewalk Accident Lawsuit

For more information, contact our Pennsylvania slip and fall lawyers at 215.925.4451. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

The lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman handle cases in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area:

  • PA: Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Allentown, Lehigh Valley, Norristown, Philadelphia
  • NJ: Atlantic County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Camden, Cherry Hill, New Jersey shore cities

*This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is important to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.

Published: July 13, 2012

Fall Accident Law Library

Landlord Liability for Fall Accidents in Pennsylvania, Part Two

Landlords in Pennsylvania may be held liable for falls and other types of incidents which occur in and around the rented premises. Pennsylvania law certainly recognizes landlord liability; however liability varies, depending on the type of landlord. PA law recognizes...

Landlord Liability for Fall Accidents in Pennsylvania, Part One

Tenants and their guests who are injured in fall accidents often ask whether the landlord is liable for the accident. The answer depends on the circumstances of the case and more importantly, the type of landlord. In fall down accident cases, Pennsylvania courts...

Who can be held liable for a stairway fall accident in Pennsylvania?

There are many potential defendants in a stairway fall accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania. While the facts of each case vary, there are for the most part, two common defendants in a stairway fall accident case: 1. Building Owner Under Pennsylvania fall accident law, a...

Pennsylvania Fall Accident Law – Viability of a Stairway Fall Accident Case

Stairway fall accidents are particularly dangerous. Someone who falls down an entire flight of marble stairs may suffer catastrophic injury. Fractured bones, spinal injuries and head trauma are very common in stairway accidents. Those who are injured in stairway...

I was making a delivery and tripped on the property where I was making a delivery. Do I have a claim against the homeowner?

Homeowner liability cases involving a delivery person or utility worker are actually very common. Even though the individual was on the job at the time of the accident, they may be able to make a negligence claim against the homeowner. Such a claim would be...



    *No attorney-client relationship is created by use of this email form. Do not email confidential or time-sensitive information. Call the firm for immediate assistance.


    Pennsylvania Office
    The Pavilion
    261 Old York Rd., Suite 504
    Jenkintown, PA 19046
    Tel: (215) 925-4451
    Fax: (215) 574-1200

    New Jersey Office
    1415 Route 70 East
    Cherry Hill, NJ 08034
    Tel: (856) 427-0614
    Fax: (856) 424-3690