Worried about slipping and falling on that dangerous ice that your neighbor didn’t clear from their sidewalk? You are not alone. Slip-and-falls are the most common injuries in the country, especially during Winter.
What responsibilities do property owners have?
Property owners (including those responsible for business properties) are responsible for keeping areas where people would usually walk through clear and safe. Every municipality in Pennsylvania has its own set of rules concerning how long after a storm a property owner must remove any remaining snow and ice.
In many cases, if a property owner does not adhere to those regulations, they are automatically subject to penalties in the form of fees. However, it is an entirely different situation when it comes to slip-and-falls.
Melting snow and ice on the street or sidewalk, walking up the stairs of a public building or walking from a city-owned parking lot to an office building and falling can have serious consequences.
Slip-and-falls can cause significant disruption for the injured person and the individual or entity responsible for keeping the area clear of snow and ice or warning people that there is a slight delay in clearing the area for some reasonable explanation people should avoid walking through the area.
If the property owner fails to follow the law
In cases where the slip-and-fall could have been prevented, the injured person may have a claim against the property owner if the injuries could have been prevented had the property owner followed the law.
The same is true of businesses. Suppose a person slips and falls in a supermarket because there is a clearly wet and dangerous area. In that case, the business owner could also be held liable.
Property owners and businesses need to be cautious and take action as soon as possible, even if that means putting up a sign warning people that the area is unsafe and blocking it so individuals cannot walk through it.
Slip-and-falls can be extremely painful and, in some cases, cause severe injuries. Understanding your rights under the law is critical. For property and business owners, remember that ignorance of the law is not a defense.