Visitor Question

Broken ribs from falling in snow that should have been cleared…

Submitted By: Edwin (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

It was two days after a snow storm. I was walking on pavement owned by a company that helps homeless people, they own the building I fell in front of but they didn’t clear the snow. I fell and broke 2 ribs, and hurt my lower back.

The day of the fall I was in pain but not a enough to call 911. As days went on it got worse and worse. I went to hospital 6 days after the fall and took X-rays which showed I had 2 broken ribs. The day of the fall I did take pictures of the snow and sidewalk. Do you think I have a case? What can I do? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Edwin,

When it comes to slip and falls on ice or snow, the State of Pennsylvania continues to rely on the common law doctrine of “hills and ridges” set out in Rinaldi v. Levine, 176 A.2d 623 (Pa. 1962).

Under the hills and ridges doctrine, property owners are not strictly liable when persons slip and fall on ice or snow which has accumulated on the sidewalk owned or controlled by the property owner.

To the contrary, the courts have noted that ice or snow accumulated upon a sidewalk which creates merely a “transient “(passing) danger is not sufficient to hold the property owner liable for injuries to persons who may slip and fall on the ice or snow.

Instead, the property owner’s legal duty of care is to act within reasonable time to cure (repair or remove) the ice or snow when it presents a clear danger to those persons who may be walking upon the sidewalk, and not to allow the dangerous condition to remain for an unreasonable amount of time.

Whether or not you have the basis of a credible personal injury claim will depend on the amount of ice or snow accumulated on the sidewalk upon which you fell and the length of time the dangerous condition was permitted to remain.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: June 30, 2017

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