You’re sitting inside enjoying the fire, sipping on some cocoa when suddenly you hear a loud noise and an agonizing scream. You go outside to check and see what happened, only to see that someone has slipped and fallen while walking past your house.
“The ice on your driveway is the reason I have fallen! I will be contacting my lawyer about this!” is what you hear from the victim of the fall—are you really to blame?
Property owners have a responsibility to maintain a relatively safe environment to prevent people from being injured on their property. What happens when someone is hurt due to ice outside of your home?
A Closer Look at Weather-Related Liability
When it comes to premises liability, there are many different rules and regulations that come into play. Just because someone falls in your driveway doesn’t mean you’re liable, similar to how ice being present doesn’t undoubtedly imply you were careless.
As the property owner, there must be clear evidence that you were aware of the hazards and chose not to correct them for the fault to be in your field.
Duty of care - a requirement that a person act toward others and the public with the watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person in the circumstances would use. If a person's actions do not meet this standard of care, then the acts are considered negligent, and any damages resulting may be claimed in a lawsuit for negligence.
To be held liable for an injury on your property, the injured party must prove that duty of care was shown and that it was violated in some aspect. In addition, they must provide that their duty of care wasn’t violated, because as a Philadelphia resident it’s common news that you must be careful walking outside, due to hazardous conditions.
In many states, there is the natural accumulation rule which states that you can’t be held liable for hazards (ice/snow) and can only be held liable if there’s clear evidence you provoked the danger. Snowfall is considered an “act of God” and is something that you as a property owner, can’t be held liable for.
If you found yourself being threatened by the victim of a slip and fall case on your property, don’t hesitate to seek help! There are laws in place to prevent being held liable if the injury was due to another’s negligence.
Call us today at (267) 214-8608 and get assistance and guidance.