Winter slip and fall accidents: What you need to know
Pittsburgh’s harsh winters set up the conditions every year for many different types of accidents. During the snowy and icy winter months, weather-related accidents are never in short supply, but the most common type of wintertime accidents usually happen when someone is injured during a slip and fall.
Throughout the cold winter months, snow piles up, melts, and then refreezes over and over again. That means walkways, sidewalks, steps, parking lots, and other surfaces can become covered in slick sheets of ice and create extremely dangerous conditions. The accumulated ice and snow can reduce or eliminate traction, and if surfaces aren’t properly treated or cleared, they can lead to a potentially life-threatening fall or other injury. Weather conditions combined with poorly maintained premises are the perfect mix for slip and fall accidents—and worse yet, they can sometimes be prevented. Even slipping and falling on a small patch of ice can be enough to send someone to the hospital with a sprain or broken bone, or even worse.
Pennsylvania law requires that property owners must provide a safe path for anyone who may use their space, but all too frequently sidewalks and other walkways are neglected during the winter and get worse as snowy and icy conditions continue. Pittsburgh sees high levels of foot traffic every day, meaning it is essential for local property owners and managers to maintain safe and walkable conditions. In the state of Pennsylvania, a failure to do so potentially makes them liable for injuries that occur on their property as a result of negligence.
When a property owner neglects the upkeep and maintenance of their property and you sustain an injury as a result, you have every right to seek compensation for your damages under what’s known as “premises liability.” In a premises liability case, you could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, time off work, and any other damages after sustaining injuries from a fall on someone else’s property.
Anyone from storefront or retail property owners and apartment and residential property managers, to the average home-owner, can be held responsible for injuries sustained on their property. So not only is it important to know who is responsible if you get hurt in a slip and fall accident, it’s also important if you are a property or home-owner that you avoid causing injury to someone else.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, there are several steps you can take to help prove your case:
- Seek medical attention — If you are injured, you should promptly seek medical attention. While you are being treated, get as much documentation as possible from your medical provider about the extent of your injuries and why they occurred, and take photos of any visible injuries if possible.
- Document everything — Take clear pictures of the scene, get witness statements if possible, and most importantly, ask the property owner or manager to fill out an incident or accident report and obtain a copy. Don’t sign anything or give any statements to anyone without speaking to a personal injury lawyer.
- Call a personal injury lawyer — Personal injury and slip and fall cases can be extremely complicated. After you’ve sustained slip and fall injuries, you will need an experienced personal injury attorney to file a lawsuit against the property owner or responsible party. Make sure you aren’t left footing the medical bills for an accident that wasn’t your fault and that happened because of negligence.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in slip and fall, or any other type of accident, call our experienced personal injury attorneys at Hal Waldman & Associates for a free consultation. Schedule your free consultation online now or call us at (412) 338-1000.