Snow Removal Laws Impact Slip and Fall Lawsuits
Inclement weather during this time of year can be a nuisance for Pennsylvania residents. To make the winter less dangerous, property owners are required to treat snow and ice on their property within a reasonable time limit. Failure to do so exposes the property owner to liability for a slip and fall lawsuit.
Local ordinances may dictate the amount of time in which a resident must address dangerous weather-related conditions affecting their property, as well as established Pennsylvania case law. Philadelphia property owners and tenants must clear a path and remove snow from their sidewalk within six hours after the snow has stopped falling, according to local ordinance 10-720.
The surrounding suburbs have their own premises liability regulations regarding snow removal.
Common Pennsylvania snow removal ordinances include:
- Doylestown: Snow must be removed within 10 hours after the snow has stopped. If snow stops after 6 p.m., sidewalks must be cleared no later than 10 a.m. the following morning (Chapter 21, Section 251).
- Newtown: Residents have up to 24 hours to remove snow once it has stopped (Ordinances 201-204).
- Abington: A path at least 30 inches wide must be cleared within 24 hours (Section 137-2).
- Media: Snow must be removed within 24 hours (Ordinance No. 996).
- Springfield: A three foot path must be cleared within 24 hours. (Section 120.6).
During the winter months, hospitals treat more slip and fall patients. Carol Benson, the senior director of critical care at St. Patrick Hospital told NBC Montana that, “We’ve had an increase of up to 4 percent, so we can really attribute that, probably, to the external environment and what’s happening on the sidewalks and streets.”