Friedman, Schuman, Applebaum and Nemeroff, P.C.Attorneys at Law • A Professional Corporation
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Winter Weather Falldown Accidents

With the increase in dangerous, slippery conditions throughout Pennsylvania during the winter months, comes an increase in weather-related accidents, including slip and fall accidents. If you have slipped and injured yourself due to ice and snow accumulation on someone else's property, the property owner may be held responsible for your injuries. Under Pennsylvania law, property owners are required to clear sidewalks and parking lots of ice and snow within a reasonable time after becoming aware that a dangerous condition exists after winter...

storms. What constitutes a dangerous condition during or shortly after an ice or snow storm may surprise you.

Not all slip and fall accidents create liability for the property owner. Pennsylvania recognizes an exception to property owner liability for such accidents called the "Hills and Ridges" doctrine. It is a defense which the property owner can raise particularly when the slip and fall occurs during or shortly after a natural, widespread accumulation of ice or snow.

The Hills and Ridges Doctrine essentially protects an owner of land from liability for generally slippery conditions resulting from ice and snow where the owner has not permitted the ice and snow to unreasonably accumulate in ridges or elevations. The rationale behind the doctrine is that it would be unreasonable to require one's walkways to be free of ice and snow at all times.

There are important limits to the applicability of the Hills and Ridges Doctrine. The doctrine may be applied only in cases where the fall occurs on a natural accumulation of ice or snow following a recent weather event, because the protection afforded property owners is predicated on the assumption that such formations are natural occurrences. If, however, a slippery condition due to ice or snow is caused by something other than a natural accumulation, the Hills and Ridges Doctrine is inapplicable. For example, icy conditions resulting from the melting and refreezing of snow which has not been cleared after a storm may not be subject to the "Hills and Ridges" Doctrine. Likewise, the doctrine would not apply to icy conditions resulting from a leaking pipe or other man-made drainage.

In summary, liability for weather-related slip and fall injuries in Pennsylvania are not always clear-cut and can involve the analysis of many factors. This is why you should always consult with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after the accident and before speaking to any insurance company. The personal injury attorneys at Friedman Schuman have decades of experience handling many types of slip and fall cases and welcome the opportunity to speak with you regarding your legal rights following such an accident. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an accident, please contact us for a consultation.

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