One of the most common types of Personal Injury Claims in Pennsylvania is for Slip and Fall accidents on Snow or Ice. Whether or not an injured victim has a legal claim depends on whether the property owner was Negligent, which depends on the individual circumstances of each case.
Here are some general rules:
Falls During or Very Shortly After a Storm are Hard to Win
Negligence requires notice of a dangerous condition and a reasonable amount of time to correct it. Consequently, if a Slip and Fall happens during a Snow or Ice storm or very shortly thereafter, it’s difficult to argue that the property owner was Negligent.
Pennsylvania law acknowledges that it’s not possible to keep a property clear of Snow and Ice at all times. The law gives property owners a reasonable time after the storm to plow, shovel and salt to make the property reasonably safe.
Pennsylvania’s Strange “Hills and Ridges Rule”
Consistent with the premise that Negligence requires an opportunity to fix the dangerous condition, Pennsylvania law gives property owners time to clean up after a Snow or Ice Storm before facing potential liability for an injury.
Pennsylvania Courts created a Rule called the “Hills and Ridges Rule” which provides that when there are generally slippery conditions from a Snow or Ice storm, the property owner can only be held liable if (1) the Snow or Ice had accumulated on the area of the fall in ridges or elevations of such size and character as to unreasonably obstruct pedestrian travel; and (2) the property owner knew about it or it existed for such a time period that the property owner should have known about it.
Exceptions to the “Hills and Ridges Rule”
The Hills and Ridges Rule does not apply to all Slip and Fall incidents on Snow or Ice. Instead, it only applies to natural accumulations from storms.
If something else caused the slippery condition, like an improperly placed downspout or melt and refreeze from plowed or shoveled snow, then the Hills and Ridges Rule does not prevent a successful Slip and Fall lawsuit.
What to do if You have Been Injured on Snow or Ice in Pennsylvania
If you have been injured in a Slip and Fall accident on Snow or Ice, you should do several things to protect your legal rights:
- Take photos and video of the condition that caused you to fall
- Report the incident to the property owner
- Obtain medical treatment if you are injured
- Seek legal advice to determine your rights
Tim Rayne is a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer with the law firm MacElree Harvey. For over 25 years, Tim Rayne has been helping injured accident victims understand their legal rights and receive fair treatment from insurance companies. Tim has law offices in Kennett Square and West Chester Pennsylvania and meets with their clients at their homes or virtually. Contact Tim Rayne at 610-840-0124 or email@example.com or check out his website at www.TimRayneLaw.com.