Snow and Ice Removal
January 27, 2018
Depending on where you live, the laws concerning who is responsible for shoveling snow and clearing sidewalks can vary. As a result of a citywide ordinance throughout Philadelphia all businesses, home owners, landlords and even some renters are legally obligated to remove snow from sidewalks within 6 hours of a storm and snow accumulation.
Some Philadelphia residents and business owners are quick to remove snow in order to avoid hefty tickets written by the city’s Streets Department. However, there are other important reasons to get rid of ice and snow, such as the obligation to prevent it from accumulating and creating hazards for unsuspecting individuals. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), slip and fall accidents account for approximately 8 million emergency room department visits every year. Some individuals sustain traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBIs, from slip and falls – so doing what you can to limit risks to others needs to be a priority.
Slip and falls are much more likely to occur during the winter season, which is why it is essential for businesses, home owners and some renters to ensure safely maintained properties. If you are a renter you should read the terms of your lease to determine who is responsible for maintaining snow and ice removal on the premise. Because the process for determining which party is at fault when a slip and fall occurs is a complicated one, it is advisable to consult directly with a lawyer who can best help answer your questions in the case of an injury.
After a snowfall accumulates, people are prone to slipping and falling inside as well as outside. Having a mat in an entranceway so that people can dry off before entering a home or business can decrease preventable injuries. Business owners in particular need to ensure that any wet or slippery surface areas are properly marked and cleaned promptly. Because it is a well known fact that winter weather creates many unsafe conditions, both business and home owners must act quickly to remedy hazards.
Wintertime slips and falls can result in an array of debilitating injuries. It’s also important for Philadelphians to remember that it’s actually illegal to shovel snow from a sidewalk or around a parked car and deposit it back onto a plowed street. The city points out that this practice is not only hazardous for pedestrians, but for drivers as well. Businesses, home owners and some renters should all keep the following areas cleared from snowfall and ice accumulation:
- Sidewalks (and even those adjacent to some businesses) and/or walkways;
- Business entrances, and:
- Parking lots
Even though it may seem obvious that clearing snow and ice from a car not only makes it much safer to drive it also keeps a person from breaking the law – and being more likely to unintentionally inflict injuries on others. Philadelphia legislation requires car owners to clean a vehicle off before driving it; not only does this inhibit accidents from poor visibility and other cold weather conditions, but it also prevents pedestrians and other vehicles from being struck by lethal amounts of snow and/or ice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that some of the most common injuries associated with slips and falls are dislocations, tears, strains and sprains, fractures, concussions and contusions and lacerations, cuts and abrasions (including bruises). Depending on the severity of an injury, some individuals can require prolonged medical care, time off from work or may experience a marked change in quality of life.
There are a few important steps that anyone can take to limit some known slip and fall hazards, such as:
- Looking out for spots of black ice and slippery entranceways;
- Walking carefully and slowly;
- Keeping hands out of pockets so that if you fall you have a better chance of catching yourself (and not carrying anything in your hands, either!);
- Avoid slippery curbs and uneven surfaces, and:
- If you suspect an area is icy or slippery, gently tap it with your foot before walking across
Whether or not a city has ordinances in place to require home owners, landlords or renters and businesses to remove ice and snow promptly, it’s an important step to take throughout the winter season. When someone is injured as a result of an establishment or individual’s snow or ice removal failures, he or she may be able to file a lawsuit and recover a settlement to help pay for medical bills, treatments and other damages. To find out more, please contact a representative at our firm.
Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Victims of Slip and Falls on Unsafe Properties
If you sustained injuries from a slip and fall on someone else’s improperly maintained or unsafe property, please contact our Philadelphia slip and fall lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.