Pennsylvania Snow & Ice Fall Accidents: Dangerous Property Conditions


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Snow and ice accumulations are inherently dangerous, especially when they interfere with pedestrian walkways. Property owners must take reasonable care of their properties, including public walkways or sidewalks.

In addition, certain property owners may be responsible for maintaining stairs and parking lots. This applies to businesses like shopping malls and grocery stores.

Under Pennsylvania law, someone who slips and falls due to snow or ice usually has to prove that the snow and ice was of such an accumulation that hills and ridges had formed. This can be difficult to do. Pennsylvania courts usually require sufficient evidence of hills and ridges. Slipping on an inch of snow, in and of itself, will generally not result in the property owner’s liability.

However, where a condition of the property leads to abnormal snow/ice accumulation, the property owner can be held liable.  A property condition or defect may lead to excessive ice accumulation in a situation where snow melts and then refreezes. Common kinds of property defects which can lead to excessive or unusual snow/ice accumulation include:

  • slope,
  • gradient,
  • shrubs,
  • tree roots, or
  • plumbing defects.

These can all create abnormalities in a walkway and contribute to unusual pooling of water which freezes and forms ice.  For example, when snow melts on a sidewalk invaded by tree roots, a pool of ice may form. A pedestrian walking on the sidewalk may unwittingly encounter the pool of ice under fresh snow and slip. The property owner may be held liable.

Those injured in snow/ice fall accidents may be able to recover just and reasonable financial compensation for their injuries and losses, including medical bills and lost wages. Contact a slip and fall lawyer for more info.

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