Pennsylvania law protects pedestrians from businesses and homeowners that fail to ensure their property is safe for others. If a person or entity fails to keep a property safe for others it may be possible to pursue a claim for negligence. There are many special rules with regard to these cases that should be carefully followed. For instance, where there is snow or ice on the ground Pennsylvania's Hills and Ridges doctrine may apply. Under the Hills and Ridges doctrine, the owner is not required to clear a natural accumulation of snow or ice the moment it falls unless it is artificially created (runoff from gutters, puddles, etc.) or develops hills and ridges. This doctrine is very confusing and best understood in a thorough consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania attorney. For instance, the Hills and Ridges doctrine can bar a suit for a slip and fall on black ice, although there are circumstances where a suit based on black ice is proper. Other types of slip and fall cases include hidden defects in the ground, improperly placed signage, a crack in the sidewalk, steps in disrepair, wet floor surfaces, or things simply left on the ground in blind places. At Fairlie & Lippy, we have handled cases against businesses and homeowners for issues such as broken sidewalks, wet supermarket floors, poorly designed staircases and doorways, failing to salt or remove snow and ice, and unsafe delivery areas. Additionally, through our investigation we have found defects in the way buildings were maintained that caused repeated problems, such as improper drainage of water or other maintenance deficiencies.
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