Do I have a lawsuit case for a fall on ice or snow?
If you were hurt after a fall on the property of another person or business because of ice or snow on that property, then they may be responsible for your injuries and damages. Falls on ice and snow can cause significant injuries. One Lancaster orthopedic surgeon calls snow “white gold” because of all the money earned following surgical repairs and treatment from such falls.
Pennsylvania law protects the property owner from liability under certain circumstances. For instance, a property owner cannot be expected to remain outside of their properties removing snow and salting the entire time during a snowstorm. In times of generally slippery conditions, the law recognizes that property owners must be given a reasonable amount of time to remove the dangerous condition caused by snow or ice. A reasonable amount of time to remove snow and ice will be different in each case. A store owner will be expected to remove snow and ice during business hours sooner that an elderly person who relies upon someone to help them remove snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of their house.
The legal protection for property owners under generally slippery conditions has a major exception. If hills and ridges of snow and ice exist on a property, then the property owner may be liable even if generally slippery conditions exist over the entire area. This is commonly referred to as the “hills and ridges” doctrine under Pennsylvania law. Examples of this doctrine include a property owner who never removed snow or ice from a previous storm or when an owner or their contractor did a bad job removing the snow which allowed it to build up in certain areas.
A property owner is not protected if they directly or indirectly create the dangerous condition. Examples of this include poor snow removal, failure to salt or adequately salt icy conditions, allowing melting and refreezing to occur over areas where people walk, and not removing the snow or ice in a timely manner.
These cases are very fact specific and require expertise in uncovering the facts and presenting the legal arguments. If you or someone you know was hurt in fall on snow or ice, contact RG Injury Law for a free legal consultation. You can read more in our article What to do after a Fall on Snow or Ice.