Pennsylvania Pedestrian Snow/Ice Slip and Fall Law
While this winter hasn’t seen very much snow fall, we’re only half way through the winter and a few inches are expected tomorrow. Snow and ice fall accidents are very dangerous. Head injuries and broken bones are common.
Pennsylvania allows someone who is injured in a sidewalk snow/ice accident to recover for their injuries if the property owner or manager was negligent in maintaining the sidewalk. Learn more about fall down accident law in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Sidewalk Accident Law
In Pennsylvania, a pedestrian who is lawfully walking on a public sidewalk is considered a “licensee,” in that they have the property owner’s implied consent to be on the property or sidewalk. This legal status means that pedestrians who are injured in sidewalk accidents, including snow/ice accidents, must prove that the property owner/manager knew or should have known about the dangerous condition (i.e. snow/ice) yet failed to exercise reasonable care in making the condition safe or providing warnings about the condition.
Factors which are relevant in proving that the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous snowy or icy conditions include:
- duration and strength of the storm,
- daily temperature before and after the storm,
- prior snow fall,
- type of property (business, residential),
- property issues which affect snow/ice accumulation, and
- nature of the plaintiff’s familiarity with the property.
Details such as duration/strength of the storm as well as daily temperatures and prior snowfall are important because they help establish that the weather was cold enough for snow or ice to accumulate. Prior snow storms and the owner’s response to those prior snow storms can also help establish that the owner was aware of the condition.
For example, in a situation where snow falls on successive days, whether and when the owner shoveled and salted the sidewalk after those occasions can help establish that the owner knew what the property was like before the slip and fall accident occurred. Also, if an owner fails to shovel or salt for several days, this tends to help prove negligence (i.e., that the owner knew or should have known about the conditions).
The type of property (business versus residential) is also important in proving negligence. A recent Pennsylvania court found that a business did not have notice of snowy/icy conditions of sidewalk resulting from a snowstorm which occurred over the weekend, when the business was closed. The Pennsylvania Superior Court in Alexander v. City of Meadville (Dec. 2012), found in favor of a business/property owner.
In the case, the plaintiff slipped and fell as a result of accumulated ice and snow. The accident occurred during the weekend. Since the business was closed on the weekends, the court reasoned that the business could not have had any notice of the conditions, and therefore plaintiff was unable to prove adequate notice.
The success of any snow and ice fall accident case depends on the facts. It is very important to speak to a slip and fall accident lawyer to help determine if there is a viable case.
- Tips on What to do After a Slip and Fall Accident
- Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Law – Liability of Stores & Businesses
Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyers. Call for your free consultation. 215.925.4451
The Philadelphia slip and fall accident lawyers at Schwartz & Blackman accept 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.