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Slip and Fall Accidents Involving Hills and Ridges of Snow and Ice

At Georgelis Injury Law Firm, P.C., we have seen hundreds of personal injury cases that emanate from slips and falls on snow and/or ice. While different standards and duties apply, based upon the type of property involved and the status of the person injured, here is a common scenario we encounter as an injury and accident law firm: someone goes to a retail store, business or other commercial establishment, 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 form or accumulate in the parking lot. There are several criteria of this legal doctrine 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.

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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, an argument can be made that the doctrine of hills and ridges is inapplicable, and the general principles of negligence will apply. Under these principles, 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 to make 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 precipitation before liability will inure. Thus, it is much more likely that a person will prevail in a bodily injury claim if the hills and ridges of snow and/or ice were present in the parking lot for three days, as opposed to just 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 awarded 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 Injury Law Firm, P.C. has successfully handled hundreds of these claims, helping those who have been injured in slip, trip and fall accidents recover millions of dollars from property owners who do not make their buildings, parking lots and/or land safe for residents and visitors of Lancaster County. Maybe that is why we have been named Lancaster County’s Best Law Firm, as part of Lancaster County Magazine’s “Best Of…” Survey, for 7 straight years! Our skilled and experienced team of legal professionals will aggressively pursue all the compensation you deserve for your income loss, decreased earning capacity, pain and suffering and loss of life’s enjoyment.

The attorneys at Georgelis Injury Law have taken over 100 cases to trial before juries. This means that we back up our tough talk to insurance companies with action. Contact us today for a free and no-obligation review and evaluation of your claim whenever and wherever suits you best. We can be reached at 1-800-HURT-NOW or 1-717-394-3004…put our success and experience to work for you!

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