Lancaster Lawyers Help People Injured in Slip and Fall Accidents Involving Hills and Ridges of Snow and Ice
A facet of personal injury law that emanates from snow and ice is slip and fall accidents and injuries. While different standards and duties apply, based upon the type of property involved and the status of the person injured, this is the most common scenario we encounter as an injury and accident law firm: someone going to a store, slips and falls on snow and/or ice in the parking lot and is injured.
In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a property owner can be held liable if a customer slips and falls as a direct result of hills and ridges of snow and/or ice that naturally formed or accumulated in the parking lot. There are several components of this legal theory that must be met in order to receive compensation for injuries that occur from a slip and fall accident. First, the snow and/or ice must be of a certain character; that is, there must be some height and definition to the snow and/or ice. Consequently, “black ice” or flat, frozen precipitation is not legally sufficient.
Second, the hills and ridges must be natural phenomena incidental to our climate, such that the collection of snow and/or ice formed or accumulated naturally, without the intervention of mankind. For example, if the snow and/or ice that caused someone to slip and fall was disturbed from its natural state by a shovel or snow plow, a strong argument can be made that the doctrine of hills and ridges is inapplicable, and the general principles of negligence apply. Under general principles of negligence, no hills and ridges are necessary; rather, if a property owner is responsible for snow and/or ice removal, fails to exercise reasonable care when performing this duty and a person slips, falls and is injured as a result of relying upon the property owner’s undertaking as making the parking lot safe, then, typically, liability exists.
Last, even if the hills and ridges form or accumulate, naturally, a property owner has a reasonable period of time to clear the snow and/or ice before liability will inure. Thus, it is much more likely that a person will prevail in a bodily injury claim, and recover significant compensation as part of a settlement, if the hills and ridges were present on the parking lot for three days instead of three hours.
It is important to note that, in many slip and fall cases, there is an element of comparative negligence present. Thus, the argument can be made that the person who is injured is partly at fault for the slip and fall by not recognizing the danger posed by the snow and/or ice or failing to take the appropriate measures to avoid it. If comparative negligence is successfully raised, the amount of the recovery or compensation received as a result of a settlement will be reduced, proportionately, based upon the percentage of negligence on the part of the injured person.
If you are injured as a result of a slip and fall on someone else’s property, it is in your best interest to immediately consult with attorneys who handle these claims as a primary focus of their practice. Slip and fall cases, or accidents and injuries involving premises liability, should be handled by attorneys who know this area of the law, inside and out. Georgelis Law Firm, P.C. has successfully handled hundreds of slip and fall accident claims, helping those who have been injured in these situations to recover substantial amounts of money from property owners who do not make their buildings, parking lots and/or land safe for the citizens of Lancaster County. Georgelis Law Firm, P.C. does just that and will gladly meet with you and evaluate your case for absolutely no charge.