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Establishing liability fall from icy sidewalks

The winter months mean cold weather and snow for residents in Pennsylvania. While it isn't as common to travel long distances by foot, residents will still utilize sidewalks in residential areas, cities and outside businesses. Although sidewalks can be a relatively safe platform to walk on, the winter months could make them dangerous. Icy sidewalks are a winter hazard; property owners should take care to avoid a slip-and-fall incident causing serious injuries.

With regards to slip-and-fall accidents due to icy sidewalks, it is important for the injured party to understand liability. This is critical is the injured victim seeks to file a civil action such as a premises-liability claim or a personal-injury suit. In order to file such a claim, fault or liability needs to be assigned.

For commercial property such as local businesses and companies, it is the responsibility of the business or company to ensure the safety of customers and clients. Reasonable care for the safety of an invitee must be taken. If not, the business could be liable for the injuries suffered by a slip-and-fall accident.

Both the landowners and the occupants of a dwelling or residential property could be held liable in a slip-and-fall incident ton an icy sidewalk, but this is dependent on who was in control of the condition that caused the fall. In most cases, this is the person who is the expected responsible party to take the reasonable measures to keep the property safe. In most cases, this is either the property owner or the renter, and possibly both in some scenarios.

Special rules apply to government property when a person suffers injuries in a fall from icy sidewalks. The victim must file a claim before any liability is assigned, but in some cases, the government's liability could be limited or nonexistent (because of government immunity from a suit).

Understanding the cause of the slip-and-fall accident often helps the victim establish the liable party.

This will also provide a useful framework in the investigation of the accident and assist with any civil action that follows. Those injured in a slip-and-fall accident should understand their options and rights regarding legal remedies, especially when it comes to receiving compensation for their losses and damages caused by the accident.

Source:, "Icy Sidewalks Can Lead to Slip and Fall Suits," Andrew Chow, Feb. 24, 2012

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