Slips and falls account for more than 1 million hospital emergency room visits every year in the United States. In a state like Pennsylvania, where most regions annually receive around 30 inches of snow, slip and fall rates dramatically increase during the winter months. If you’re not vigilant, you could encounter serious injuries this winter, both at work and on your own property.
Your safety shouldn’t be your only concern when snow and ice are on the ground around your house. If a passerby slips on the ice in front of your property, you could be held responsible if you knew or should have known of the snow and ice and failed to remove it.
If you own, rent, or occupy a property in Pittsburgh, you’re responsible for maintaining the sidewalk after a snowfall.
Pittsburgh City Code 419.03, Removal of Snow and Ice reads:
Every tenant, occupant or owner having the care or charge of any land or building fronting on any street in the city, where there is a sidewalk paved with concrete, brick, stone or other material shall, within twenty-four (24) hours after the fall of any snow or sleet, or the accumulation of ice caused by freezing rainfall, cause the same to be removed from the sidewalk.
Essentially, this code says that you have 24 hours to remove snow or ice from the sidewalk in front of your house after it has stopped snowing, sleeting, or raining.
If you own your home, you’re generally responsible for snow removal. With landlord-tenant relationships, however, where the responsibility falls is less clear. If you live in an apartment complex, the property manager typically manages the snow and ice removal. You should still check your lease, especially if you rent a house. You may have accepted that role when you signed your name.
If you own your property, you’re responsible for the safety of anyone who is on your property, including those who use the sidewalk in front of your house. If someone slips and falls in front of your home, they can hold you responsible for their injuries if you knew or should have known of the snow and ice and failed to remove it.
The rules on snow and ice removal may vary outside of the City of Pittsburgh. In Canonsburg, Upper St. Clair, and Castle Shannon, residents have 12 hours to remove snow and ice. In Brentwood, residents have only four hours to clear their sidewalks. In places like McKeesport and Pleasant Hills, residents are granted 24 hours.
Beyond Allegheny County, the rules may vary even further. Check your local laws to ensure you remain in compliance all winter long.
If you’ve suffered an injury after slipping on snow or ice, you may qualify for compensation. Contact the attorneys at Dugan & Associates to review your case. Our team will ensure you receive every penny you’re entitled to.
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