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When a property owner is not liable for your injury

Pittsburgh has had its share of snow and ice this year, as raging winter storms have swept across the nation, even hitting the southern half of the country. This is the time of year when property owners, especially business owners, need to ensure that they keep their properties safe for customers and visitors. It may mean doing a lot of maintenance removing snow and ice - possibly on a daily basis.

This bears the question about how much responsibility can a business or property owner incur if a person slips and is injured on their premises. Most people believe that they can automatically hold a property owner accountable if they are injured while on their premises. This is not necessarily true. The injury or accident must be caused by negligence on the part of the property owner.

For instance, if someone slips and injures themselves because the walkway into a building is icy, the question is whether the property owner was under an obligation to have the ice or snow removed. An apartment building is a good example. If a tenant's lease states that the property owner or landlord will keep the walkway free of snow and ice, and they fail to do so, the injured party may have a premises liability case against them. On the other hand, if the landlord has done their due diligence and cleared the walkway, but snow or ice accumulated before the next morning when they had a chance to clear it again, they may not be responsible because there was no actual negligence on their part.

Those who are injured in a slip-and-fall accident because of another person's negligence do have the right to seek compensation. These claims may include those for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other economic and non-economic losses.

Source:  ksdk.com, "Slip and Falls on Ice and Snow" Stephanie Zoller, Jan. 20, 2014

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