Winter is here, and so are messy sidewalks. If you’re one of Philadelphia’s many renters, and you have a slip and fall accident on snow and/or ice outside your apartment building, your landlord might be responsible for your medical bills, depending on the circumstances that led to your injury. Philadelphia slip and fall accident lawyer Brent Wieand explains when landlords are liable for tenant injuries caused by ice and snow on the premises of an apartment complex.
When Are Landlords Liable for Tenant Slip and Fall Accidents on Ice and Snow?
Any Philadelphia resident will tell you that our winters can be brutal. Some years are worse than others, but virtually every season brings a deluge of ice and snow, which create a major hazard for accidental falls. With two to three months of winter weather still left to go before spring arrives, the unfortunate likelihood is that hundreds if not thousands of people will sustain injuries like broken bones, dislocated joints, and traumatic brain injuries due to slip and fall accidents caused by unshoveled and/or unsalted sidewalks, courtyards, entrance pathways, and parking lots.
When a person is injured due to slipping on snow and/or ice, he or she may be able to get compensated. This also applies to accident victims whose injuries occur on rental properties, depending on how, when, and why the injury occurred.
Landlords are not automatically liable each and every time a tenant is injured. Whether or not the landlord is liable for an accident – and in turn, whether or not the accident victim has a personal injury claim – depends on the answers to the following questions.
- Were the conditions on the premises preventable? Landlords are responsible for maintaining reasonably safe common areas, which include parking lots, sidewalks, and entrances to the building. That entails a host of maintenance duties, including repairing or removing hazards, such as hazardous accumulations of snow and ice, in a timely fashion. Failure to do so may give rise to a personal injury claim if harm results to a tenant, a tenant’s guest, or another person visiting the property, such as a mail carrier or delivery person.
- Was the landlord aware of the hazard? When a landlord is notified of a hazard on the premises, or otherwise has cause to be aware of a hazard, he or she must fix or remove the problem within a reasonable amount of time. The longer a known hazard is permitted to persist before finally causing an accident – and the more evidence exists of the landlord’s knowledge of the hazard – the more likely it is that the injury victim will have a claim.
- Was the snow or ice the cause of the accident? If a property owner fails to properly clear snow or ice in a reasonable time they may be held liable for foreseeable injuries. In contrast, renter who slips on a clear, well-maintained surface due to his or her own clumsiness or inattention does not have a claim against his or her landlord.
Landlords and property owners aren’t the only parties who can potentially be held liable for slip and fall injuries caused by uncleared or unsalted snow and/or ice. Landlords and property owners frequently hire contractors to perform snow and ice removal, particularly at large apartment complexes. In these situations, liability may also extend to the contractor if the salting or removal of ice and/or snow was performed negligently.
Negligence can be summarized as the failure to take reasonable care to minimize the risk of a foreseeable accident – in short, carelessness leading to injury. For example, a contractor might be considered negligent if he or she doesn’t bother to remove ice from a certain area of the complex, or fails to use the proper type or amount of salt.
Philadelphia Apartment Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Representing Injured Renters
If you’re a renter in Philadelphia, and you were injured after slipping on a patch of ice or snow that your landlord failed to remove from the property, you may be able to obtain compensation for your medical bills, the income you lost due to being out of work, your pain and suffering, and other damages. However, in order to receive any compensation, you must be able to effectively present a compelling, evidence-based case demonstrating how your landlord was negligent.
You need the assistance of a knowledgeable Philadelphia personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience handling slip and fall claims on behalf of injured renters in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Allow Philadelphia premises liability lawyer Brent Wieand to aggressively pursue your claim while you recover from your injury. To talk about your case in a free and confidential legal consultation, call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC at (800) 481-5206 immediately.
*Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The Wieand Law Firm, LLC is based in Philadelphia, PA, and proud to serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.*