Snow Days and Slip and Fall Accidents: How to Protect Your Rights with Slip and Fall Injury Attorneys in Norristown -

It’s that time of year again in Pennsylvania. Snow, ice, freezing rain, fog – and falls. Sometimes, a fall is just an unfortunate accident resulting in common winter injuries. But other times, slip and fall accidents can be a serious matter of legal liability. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident caused by a property owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to sue for damages. Let the experienced Norristown winter slip and fall accident lawyers at Silver & Silver protect your rights to compensation for your injuries. 

 

When is an Accident a “Slip and Fall” Accident?

A property owner is legally required to keep their property hazard-free for those who use it. When you go to a store, walk across a parking lot, or enter an office or apartment building, you trust that the property owner has kept it free from obstructions or hazards that could cause harm to you. This includes keeping snow and ice from dangerously accumulating on sidewalks, parking lots, and other areas where people walk.

Most property owners take this responsibility very seriously. But when they don’t, an injured party may be able to seek compensation for their injuries or other damages. Commonly, this is called a “slip and fall” lawsuit. 

 

What Common Hazards Cause Slip and Fall Accidents?

What common hazards can cause a slip and fall accident? Wet surfaces, large cracks, potholes, unsecured flooring, uneven surfaces, and debris left in walkways can all be dangerous, even for the most careful pedestrians. At this time of year, hazards can also include snow, ice, or other slippery conditions caused by winter weather. 

But does this mean a property owner is liable every time someone slips on snow and ice on a sidewalk or parking lot on their property? In Pennsylvania, we have unique laws that specifically address slip and fall accidents caused by winter weather and the obstacles it presents. 

 

What is the Hills and Ridges Doctrine?

In Pennsylvania, commercial and residential property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice on their property and sidewalks. But courts also realize it isn’t reasonable to require owners to constantly clear snow and ice from their property, especially during a storm. Consequently, the “hills and ridges” doctrine was designed.

This doctrine protects property owners from legal liability when snow and ice have naturally accumulated on walkways or other pedestrian areas, and someone falls. A property owner will only face legal liability if the snow and ice have excessively accumulated in ridges and hills for an unreasonable amount of time. 

But the term “reasonable” can be subjective. How long a property owner has to address snow and ice on their property can differ by municipality. At what point is the owner considered negligent, and can the injured victim prove that negligence? Norristown slip and fall injury attorneys know that, under the circumstances, winter slip and fall injury claims can be challenging to win. 

 

What Has to Be Proven in a Winter Slip and Fall Claim in Pennsylvania?

For an injured party to recover compensation for their damages under the hills and ridges doctrine, they will have to prove three things:

  1. That snow and ice had accumulated in hills and ridges for an “unreasonable” amount of time, obstructing the area and making it dangerous to navigate.
  2. That the property owner knew about the hazard or should have known about it.
  3. It was this accumulation of ice or snow that caused the accident, resulting in their injuries.

There are exceptions to the hills and ridges doctrine, but these also make winter slip and fall injury claims very fact specific. How long was the slippery condition there? Did the owner know about it and still take no measures to remedy it? Were walkways shoveled, but piles of snow left? Was a localized patch of ice left to remain on the property? Did snow melt and refreeze because it had been left there too long?

 

Being Your Own Best Advocate After a Winter Slip and Fall Accident

Because slip and fall claims are very fact-reliant, they depend on as much evidence as possible to prove a property owner’s negligence. This means you can be your own best advocate after a fall by collecting as much evidence as possible, including

  • Taking photos of your surroundings, including the site of your fall and the general area for context
  • Taking pictures of your injuries
  • Getting witness statements and contact information from people who saw it happen
  • Filing an accident report with the owner or manager of the property
  • Seeking medical help immediately and following all doctor’s orders
  • Keeping all receipts from any out-of-pocket costs

Even if you think you may be partially at fault for your accident, you may still be able to collect compensation for your injuries. Under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws, you can be up to 50 percent at fault for an accident and still collect compensation in proportion to the property owner’s percentage of fault. 

 

Slip and Fall Accidents Require Serious Legal Assistance 

Not only are slip and fall claims challenging to prove, but when insurance steps in, it’s difficult to know if you’re getting fairly compensated. Insurance companies are large, profitable businesses and rarely offer the most comprehensive settlement without some significant negotiation. This is when having an experienced slip and fall lawyer can be one of your most critical resources.

At Silver & Silver, our Norristown slip and fall injury attorneys understand the full value of your injury claim and work to ensure that an insurance settlement is fair and comprehensive. If a fair settlement can’t be negotiated, we can take the matter to court to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.

 

Don’t try to navigate a winter slip and fall accident by yourself. At Silver & Silver, our experienced Norristown winter slip and fall injury lawyers diligently work to recover the compensation you deserve after a slip and fall accident. Call us at (610) 658-1900 to schedule a free consultation or contact us through our website contact form

 

Disclosure:

This website is designed to provide only general information. The information presented on this website is not formal legal advice. You should not rely on any general information from any source for making legal decisions. Each legal matter is unique and requires specific attention from a qualified and experienced attorney. Unless a representation agreement has been signed with the Law Offices of Silver and Silver, we are not your legal representatives.