With the recent storms and high winds in the area, there has been a lot of debris, including tree branches, scattered on the sidewalk in my neighborhood.
Before leaving for work the other day, I saw some big broken tree branches scattered on the driveway and the sidewalk in front of my house. Of course, the first thing that went through my mind was that we had to clear it before someone trips over it.
My husband drove off to drop off the kids, and I stayed behind to clear the sidewalk of any tripping hazards and ended up being late for work. As I was clearing the debris, I was reminded of the trip and fall accident cases I have handled thus far. I have heard many property owners who were responsible for my clients' injuries in trip and fall accidents say that they had every intention of removing tripping hazards like tree branches or snow. However, they didn't remove the tripping hazards because they had to be somewhere. They had to get to work or to a doctor's appointment. When the property owners returned home, there would be something else they had to do. In that time period, my clients would trip, fall and get hurt.
In Pennsylvania, property owners have the duty to remove tripping hazards and dangerous conditions on the sidewalk in front of their homes. This includes debris, tree branches, snow and ice. Most cities or townships have local ordinances that require property owners to remove snow and ice within a period time after the snow falls.
Even if you are in a hurry to get somewhere, it is better to clear the tripping hazards than have an innocent pedestrian get hurt. Being late is better than being responsible for someone's injuries in a lawsuit.
If you were in a trip and fall accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and would like to talk to someone about your legal options, feel free to contact the trip and fall accident lawyers at White and Williams LLP at 877.944.8396.
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