Winter weather can complicate travel, especially when heavy snowfall hits. In the suburbs, this may mean icy roads. For those who commute on SEPTA or Amtrak and those who do a lot of walking, it can also mean a serious risk of slipping and falling on ice.
When home and business owners do not adequately shovel or de-ice their sidewalks, it can become a danger to others. Slipping and falling on someone else’s property because of uncleared ice or snow is often something you can hold the property owner liable for in court. If you or a loved one was injured in 2018 because of a fall on an icy sidewalk, talk to an attorney right away. The Philadelphia slip and fall lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm offer free consultations on slip and fall injury cases. Call (215) 246-9000 today for your free consultation.
Who to Sue for Icy Slip and Fall Injuries in Pennsylvania
If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to sue for your injuries. Filing a lawsuit may be the best way to ensure that you get full compensation for your injuries. While homeowner’s insurance or liability insurance for the business may be willing to pay for some of your damages, this may not fully cover your needs.
When you file a lawsuit, you must first choose the right parties to file the lawsuit against. The person who owns the building next to the sidewalk is usually responsible for its sidewalks. In cities like Philadelphia, it may seem like the city government’s responsibility, but the burden of shoveling and salting sidewalks usually lies with the owner. For businesses and multifamily apartment buildings, the building owner or their maintenance staff is responsible for clearing the snow. In a single-family home, the owner or tenant is responsible. If it is unclear whether the building’s owner or a renter should have shoveled the sidewalk, you may be able to sue them both, together, and allow the court to decide which one should pay damages.
Lawsuits for Falling on Ice in Philadelphia
In suing for slip and fall injuries, you must show four elements in court. These elements make up a “negligence” case, which is the most common type of personal injury case. The four elements to prove a negligence case are as follows:
- The building owner owed you a duty. The law may define this duty, but otherwise might require the sidewalk be reasonably cleared of ice and snow.
- The building owner breached that duty. If there was enough ice for you to slip and fall, it is likely that the owner failed to follow their duty.
- The owner’s breach caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages the court can compensate you for.
When defining the duty, courts may look to statutes and city ordinances to establish what the defendant is expected to do. For example, Philadelphia Code 10-720 requires building owners to clear a 36” wide path on their sidewalks, including the curbs, within 6 hours of the snowfall ending. It requires clearing snow and ice, but it does have some exceptions where a 12” wide path is allowed instead. Without a specific law on point discussing the obligation to clear snow, the rule would be one of reasonableness. Specifically, it would be to clear the snow and ice as a reasonable building owner would.
If the building owner left their sidewalk in an unreasonably dangerous condition, you may be able to succeed in a case against them. If they left snow and ice to accumulate, melt, and refreeze for days after the last snowfall, they quite clearly breached their duty. If they did try to clear snow, but left a sheet of ice in its place, they may still have been negligent. Ultimately, the decision of whether they breached the duty or not is left to the jury.
Damages for Slip and Fall Cases in PA
“Damages” refers to the harms you suffered because of an accident. This includes the physical and financial effects of being involved in an accident like a slip and fall. In Pennsylvania, you can recover for any harms that result from another person’s negligence.
If you suffered serious injuries, you may be able to seek compensation for the medical expenses and the pain and suffering itself. If your injuries kept you from work, you may be able to sue for lost wages. Ongoing effects, such as continued physical therapy or pain can also be compensated.
Philadelphia Icy Slip and Fall Attorneys
Philadelphia’s personal injury attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm may be able to file your lawsuit and fight for compensation on your icy slip and fall case. If you or a loved one fell because of an uncleared sidewalk in Pennsylvania, call our law offices today for a free consultation on your case. Our number is (215) 246-9000.