Central PA Premier Family Law Firm
Snow and Ice Related Accidents Helping People Get the Compensation They Deserve

In Pennsylvania, drivers should anticipate that, during the winter months, there will be accumulations of snow and ice. It is simply not an excuse for a driver to claim that the snow and ice came out of nowhere. There are two major types of accidents that occur due to snow and ice. The first category are car accidents, which are often caused by a driver losing control of his or her vehicle. The second type of snow and ice accidents are slip and fall accidents on the properties of business owners, organizations, and even your neighbors.

At the law office of Jason R. Carpenter, we fight to show that accidentsare the result of improper conduct such as failing to clear the snow and ice or take necessary precautions. We demand compensation for all of your injuries including pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and property damages. In car accident cases, you generally must have full tort coverage or suffer a “serious injury”in order to file a personal injury claim. There is no similar requirement in slip and fall cases. People who visit and have permission to be on aproperty can generally hold the property owner liable if that owner fails to protect you.

Car accidents caused by snow and ice

Some of the common causes for snow and ice accidents in and around Harrisburg are:

Road conditions and improper tires: In heavy snow, drivers should get off the road as quickly as possible.Ice, especially black ice, can make roads treacherous. Drivers need to make sure they drive very slowly if there's a possibility of ice on the roads. They should make sure their tires have the proper treads. They should avoid any maneuvers such as speeding or quick turns while it is icy. Snow can provide difficult traction problems just like ice. Drivers need to proceed with extra caution when there is snow is falling or when there is any accumulation of snow on the Turnpike, highways, or any road.

  • Vision issues: If it is snowing, drivers will have difficulty seeing the road ahead. If it is snowing, drivers should make sure that they are using their windshield wipers. They should also have their lights on so other drivers can see where they are. Drivers should consider driving in a lower gear. Snow may make it difficult to see other vehicles, stop signs, roadway markings, and other objects that help make for safer driving.
  • Following too closely: Drivers need to stay farther back from other vehicles so that they can safely brake without slamming into the car in front of them or any cars near them.
  • Distracted driving: Drivers should never use their cell phone for either talking or texting while they're driving. They should avoid any other types of distraction such as eating or drinking hot coffee while they are driving – especially when there’s snow and ice on the ground.
  • Driving under the influence: Drivers should never drive while they have had even one alcoholic drink because it's critical for drivers to be in complete control of their vehicle when the roads are treacherous.
  • Flying snow and ice: Drivers should be prepared for snow and ice flying off of other vehicles.

Who is liable for a car accident caused by snow and ice?

Many different people and entities may be responsible for a snow accident. Defendants may includethe driver that caused the accident and the owner of the vehicle, if different than the driver, but can also include others:

  • The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or a local governmental unit or agency may be liable for the accident. For example, roads should be closed if they are too dangerous. Roads should also be cleared and de-iced within a reasonable amount of time after the storm has ended.
  • A car parts manufacturer may be liable if the brakes failed because they were defective.
  • Various people and companies may be liable depending on how the accident occurred.

Some snow and ice accidents can cause multi-car crashes as vehicles slip and slide into each other. If this happens, multiple drivers could be liable.

When a car accident occurs, the victims may tragically die, suffer catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury and spinal cord damage, or incurbroken bones, muscle injuries, cuts and bruises, and other injuries.

Slips and falls due to snow and icy conditions

In Pennsylvania, property owners owe a duty of careto, and ensure their property is safe for, invitees and licensees.

Invitees are people who are invited onto the property. Common examples include retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses that invite people onto their property to buy products and use services. Organizations often invite people onto their property to meet and socialize.

Licensees are people who have the right to be on the property but weren’t specifically invited onto the property. A common example is someone who walks on the sidewalk ofanother’s property while en route to their ultimate destination.

Generally, property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers – people who have no right to be on the property.

What snow and ice safety precautions should property owners take?

Any property owner who does owe a duty of care should take safety measures when snow and ice accumulate. These steps include:

  • Salting any icy locations
  • Warning customers and others about wet surfaces
  • Cleaning off the snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time after the snow or hail has ended
  • Using mats and other temporary dry surfaces with traction – especially in commonly-traveled spots like the entrances to the building

People who slip and fall while on the property of another may also die or suffer catastrophic injuries. Many victims break their arms as they try to catch themselves. Fractured hips are also common. Other injuries include amputations, soft tissue injuries, and other injuries which can require months of treatment or even a lifetime of pain.

Contact an experienced snow and ice accident lawyer

At the Harrisburg Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter, we are strong advocates for victims of snow and ice accidents. To discuss a car accident or a slip and fall, call us at (717) 537-0928 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

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