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Sidewalk Slip and Fall Accidents

Nov 16, 2021 - Slip and Fall

Pennsylvania residents know all too well how walkways such as sidewalks become exponentially more dangerous during the winter months, with snow, freezing, gusty winds, ice, sleet, and other winter weather conditions becoming commonplace.

The winters are harsh in Pennsylvania, and those people tasked with using snowplows, snowblowers, salt dispensers, and even snow sho

Slip and fall accidents on sidewalks are common because of negligent maintenance or inclement weather. An Allentown slip and fall lawyer can help. Free consultation.

vels struggle to keep up, especially when snowstorms are prolonged or hit back-to-back. Slip and fall accidents on sidewalks are unfortunately commonplace, often resulting in injuries or even death. Winter conditions, however, are not the only reason a sidewalk may be unreasonably dangerous. Lack of proper maintenance may also be the cause, and these types of slip and fall accidents can happen at any time of the year.

If you have slipped and fallen on an icy or negligently maintained sidewalk in Pennsylvania, it can be complicated and difficult to determine exactly whose responsibility it is to keep that area of the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. Let an experienced Allentown slip and fall lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis help.

Who is Responsible for Keeping a Sidewalk Safe?

This is not an easy question to answer, because it depends on where the slip and fall accident occurred; more specifically, on who owns the sidewalk, is responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalk, or owns the property adjacent to the sidewalk. The general rule is that it is the property owner’s responsibility to fix dangerous conditions on the sidewalk adjacent to their property.

Residential Areas

In residential areas, the property owner may be held liable for any pedestrian slip and fall injuries on sidewalks that run adjacent to their property, although the area’s Homeowners’ Association (HOA), also known as Property Owners’ Association (POA) or Condominium Owners’ Association (COA) may be responsible if the association owns the sidewalks in the residential community or is responsible for the sidewalks’ upkeep rather than the homeowner.

Similarly, for renters, the landlord may be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, under which condition the landlord would be responsible. Responsibility for maintaining the sidewalk is likely set out in your renter’s agreement.

Commercial Property

If you slipped and fell on a sidewalk in front of a store or business, then the store or business is likely liable for your injuries, assuming they owned or were responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in question. For multi-tenant commercial buildings, the responsibility may fall on some combination of the building owner, tenant/landlord, or whichever party or parties owned or were responsible for the maintenance of the sidewalk in question.

Multiple Parties

As touched on above, there may be multiple parties responsible for damage caused by a slip and fall accident on the sidewalk, whether the accident was due to faulty maintenance or wintery conditions. Say, for example, a sidewalk alongside your house was negligently maintained, and another party tripped and fell on the sidewalk. 

However, let’s say that the water company had come out a week earlier and dug up your sidewalk, replacing it in a negligent condition. It could be argued that the water company was responsible for leaving the sidewalk in a dangerous condition. If, however, they can establish that the sidewalk was in disrepair before they even got there, they may be able to shift some of the blame onto you. It takes an Allentown slip and fall lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis to be sure that every party that may share liability is included in your legal claim.

Local Government Agencies

Sidewalk slip and fall claims against a government agency are somewhat more difficult because of legal doctrines such as government immunity. You’ll have to qualify for certain legislature-crafted exceptions to the government immunity doctrine. This becomes legally complicated very quickly, and you’ll need the help of an Allentown slip and fall lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis, who understand these laws and exceptions.

Notice

Identifying all of the responsible parties is only the first step in a slip and fall claim in Pennsylvania. Next comes showing negligence or notice of the dangerous condition.

To hold the various parties liable, you must show that these parties had notice of the dangerous condition on the sidewalk; that is to say, the parties knew or should have known about the unsafe sidewalk.

Furthermore, even after a dangerous condition was discovered, the responsible parties have a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem, although it could be counter-argued that the property owner should have posted warning signs immediately upon discovery.

Let an Allentown Slip and Fall Lawyer Help You Prevent Sidewalk Slip and Fall Accidents

Sidewalk slip and fall accidents are far more complex than they sound. An Allentown slip and fall lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis will help you navigate the legal pitfalls and fight relentlessly to help you recover all of the financial compensation you’re entitled to. To schedule your free consultation, contact us today.

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