Slip Fall Accidents On A Sidewalk – Who Is Responsible?
Slip fall accidents can happen anywhere and any individual could become a victim of the slip fall accident. Accidents happening on sidewalks are common in Philadelphia and in areas where snowfall is an annual occurrence. The sidewalks do not belong to any particular individual and people may well be confused about who is responsible for an accident on a sidewalk.
The city of Philadelphia has specified rules to determine the responsibility of slip fall accidents and people who become victims can claim damages from the responsible individuals that may have caused the accident because of their negligence.
Responsible parties to the accident
The city of Philadelphia has assigned the responsibility of keeping sidewalks in proper condition to the owners of the property next to the sidewalk. The property owners are required to clear the sidewalk of any obstructions, debris or trash which may have been left on the sidewalk by passersby or the general public. They are also required to clear any ice or snow in order to prevent slip fall accidents.
The property owners who are in close proximity to the sidewalks are responsible for keeping them safe for pedestrians and they are also required to obtain liability insurance to cover slip fall accidents or trip fall accidents which may happen on the sidewalks in front of their property. The city of Philadelphia may also be sued for the damages incurred by victims of slip fall accidents.
Actions people should take when involved in slip fall accidents
Firstly people must take pictures of the defective sidewalk and this should not be a difficult task because most cell phones are now equipped with a camera. They are required to contact the property owner in front of the sidewalk and report the incident in writing. Should also collect names of witnesses along with their telephone numbers for assistance when they decide to claim damages from the owners of the property. Finally, they must also contact an experienced slip fall attorney because he or she will be the appropriate person to handle a claim.
Property owners beside a sidewalk may very well dispute why they should be held responsible for slip fall accidents when their only fault towards the accident was their close proximity to the sidewalk. They can easily put forward the argument that the responsibility of cleaning the sidewalks rests with the city of Philadelphia and not owners of property beside the sidewalk. This is perhaps the reason why the city of Philadelphia has made it mandatory for property owners to have liability insurance which can cover the claims from slip fall accidents.
Insurance companies are notorious for increasing premiums when they offer any coverage for high-risk incidents and slip fall accidents can certainly be considered high risk during the winters. Insurance companies could be charging high premiums for the policies purchased by property owners leading to questions being raised by these people as to why they are also liable for the premiums to insurance companies.
The arguments can continue unabated and the odd owner may also decide to dispute the claim made by slip fall accident victims. It is for this reason that we have mentioned earlier that the city of Philadelphia can also be a party to the lawsuit filed by slip fall accidents. After all, the city of Philadelphia collects taxes from the public and assumes responsibility for keeping the city in a safe condition. The elected representatives have promised safety for their citizens and therefore it would be unfair to expect innocent property owners to assume responsibility for the sidewalks and even maintain them during hazardous weather conditions.
The arguments against who is responsible for slip fall accidents on a sidewalk can go on and on with no solution being in sight. However, the lawmakers have decided on the responsibility and have assigned it to the property owners besides the sidewalk while being liable for the accidents themselves as well. As things stand presently information about any changes being made to the laws is not available and therefore victims of slip fall accidents are advised to follow the procedures mentioned in this article.
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