With the onset of winter weather, it is important to know your responsibilities for snow and ice removal on your property. Pennsylvania follows the “Hills and Ridges” doctrine, which is designed to protect property owners. Under this rule, a property owner is not liable simply because snow and ice have accumulated on a sidewalk, parking lot, or other area. A victim falling in such an area must prove that uneven ridges of snow and ice have developed, and were allowed to remain present for an unreasonable period of time. A landowner is not liable for injuries unless he had a reasonable period of time to clear the sidewalk of snow and ice and failed to do so. For instance, a landowner is not likely to be liable for injuries that occur while a snowstorm is still in progress.
This rule does not apply where injuries arise from dangerous conditions unrelated to the weather, such as a pothole, crack in the sidewalk, or defective drainage that permits ice to accumulate. This rule also does not apply indoors, such as where snow and ice have been tracked inside a building.
If you are the victim of a fall, it is important to promptly document the episode. Detailed photographs should be taken of the area to show the condition of the property. Any surveillance videos should be preserved while still available. Contact information for any witnesses should be obtained. It is also important to preserve, without alteration, the shoes and clothing that the victim was wearing at the time of the incident.
The attorneys at Supinka & Supinka, PC, are experienced in handling all types of injury claims. For more information and a consultation, please call (724) 349-6768.