Serving The Injured In New York And Pennsylvania

Are Scranton businesses responsible for slips on ice?

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2024 | Personal Injury

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, the winter season often blankets the city in snow and ice, creating perilous conditions for pedestrians. When a slip and fall occurs on another person’s property due to icy conditions, the question of liability arises. Can the property owner be held responsible for the resulting injuries? The answer hinges on various factors, including the relationship between the injured party and the property owner, the cause of the icy conditions and the reasonableness of the owner’s actions to prevent or address the danger.

Understanding premises liability

Premises liability, a legal concept, stipulates that property owners bear the responsibility of maintaining safe premises for visitors. However, not every injury occurring on someone else’s property automatically translates to the property owner’s negligence. The burden rests on the victim to demonstrate that the property owner failed to act reasonably, deviating from what a reasonable person would do in similar circumstances.

For instance, if a property owner is aware of or should be aware of icy conditions on their premises, they are obligated to either remove the hazard or provide adequate warnings. Failure to do so, resulting in a slip and fall, may lead to liability for negligence.

Natural versus unnatural accumulation of ice

Pennsylvania courts differentiate between natural and unnatural accumulations of ice. Acknowledging the transient nature of snow and ice, the law stipulates that property owners are not expected to continuously monitor and clear their premises of naturally occurring weather-related accumulations. However, owners are expected to take reasonable steps to address these accumulations within a reasonable timeframe upon notice.

Conversely, unnatural accumulations caused by factors like leaky pipes or defective gutters may render the property owner liable, even without actual notice of the ice. Unnatural accumulations are considered defects or hazards created or allowed to exist on the property, necessitating corrective action or warnings.

Comparative negligence

Another crucial factor influencing the ability to recover damages is the victim’s conduct. Pennsylvania adheres to the principle of comparative negligence, where the victim’s recovery may be reduced based on their percentage of fault. If the victim’s actions contributed to the slip and fall, like they were running, the damages may be proportionally reduced.

However, recovery remains possible as long as the victim’s fault is not greater than the property owner’s. This concept, known as modified comparative negligence, ensures that victims can still recover damages even when partially at fault.

Scranton premises liability

Slip and fall incidents on icy surfaces can result in severe injuries, necessitating legal recourse. If you or a loved one has suffered such an accident in Scranton, exploring the potential for compensation from the property owner becomes crucial.