Yesterday was the first snow fall in Philadelphia and surrounding areas in Pennsylvania. While the forecast predicted snow for yesterday, no one predicted a snow storm. Philadelphia International Airport received more snow (8.6 inches) from a single storm yesterday than it did all of last winter, when 8.3 inches fell.
Property Owners’ Duty To Remove Snow & Ice On Sidewalks To Prevent Slip & Fall Accidents
Unfortunately, with snow also comes slip and fall accidents. Property owners in Philadelphia have a duty to clear snow from their sidewalks to prevent pedestrians from slipping, falling and seriously injuring themselves. If snow is not cleared from the sidewalks, property owners may be responsible for pedestrians’ injuries due to slip and fall accidents.
So how soon do the property owners have to clear the snow before they are held responsible? The next morning? Immediately after the snow storm?
According to Philadelphia City Code 10-720 regarding snow removal from sidewalks,
"(1) the owner, agent, and tenants of any building or premise shall clear a path of not less than 36" in width on all sidewalks, including curb cuts, abutting the building or premises within 6 (six) hours after the snow has ceased to fall. The path shall be thoroughly cleared of snow and ice. Where the width of any pavement measured from the property line to the curb is less than 3 (three) feet, the path cleared may be only 12 inches in width. When the building in question is a multifamily dwelling the owner or his agent shall be responsible for compliance with the requirements of this section."
(2) Snow or ice removed from sidewalks, driveways, or other areas shall not be placed or piled in the street.
(3) Any person who violates this Section shall be subject to the provisions and penalties set forth in 10-718 and 10-719.
In other words, property owners have 6 hours from the time the snow stops falling to clear the sidewalk of snow. Therefore, property owners may be liable for pedestrians’ injuries due to fall accidents from snow if the accident happened 7 hours after the snow stopped falling.
Further, it is not enough just to clear a path; the path has to be 3 feet wide. If a property owner clears a path of 2 feet wide and a pedestrian slips and falls on the sidewalk, the property owner may still be responsible for the pedestrian’s injuries and damages.
Property owners who violate this city code may also be fined ranging from $50 to no more than $300.
If you or a loved one slipped and fell on snow or ice on a sidewalk, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Call the personal injury lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation @ 877.944.8396.