Your responsibility when it comes to snow and ice on your walkways
Pennsylvania law requires people to act reasonably when it comes to the safety of others. If you own a property that has a walkway or areas upon which people walk, you must take reasonable steps to make sure that it is clear of ice and snow. What is reasonable will depend on the situation. The location of a walkway is important. Walkways attached to a business that is open for business during or shortly after a storm will be held to a higher standard, than someone with a walkway at their home in the country.
The timing of the snow or ice storm is important. No one is expected to remove snow and ice removed as it falls. In fact, during or just after a storm, the “hills and ridges” doctrine applies when a slip and fall occurs in Pennsylvania. The “hills and ridges” doctrine applies when generally slippery conditions exist throughout the area (i.e. snow and/or ice are falling or just stopped falling). Under those conditions, the property owner is protected by Pennsylvania slip and fall law unless they are allowed snow and ice to accumulate in an unreasonably amount of hills and ridges. The attorneys at RG Injury law most often see this exception when a property or walkway has snow and ice from a previous storm that was never removed or removed properly.
Once the storm is over, you must take reasonable steps to make sure that your walkways are safe. Again, how much time it should take the property owner to remove the slippery condition will depend on how the property is used by the public. If you are challenged in court, the jury or factfinder would decide what a reasonable person should have done under your circumstances.
One last thing to keep in mind, watch out for melting and refreezing. As a property owner, you must take reasonable steps to avoid or address melting and refreezing on your walkways.