Can I Sue for a Slip and Fall Injury on Snow or Ice?
Anyone who lives in New York City knows that the winters here are cold, blustery, icy, and snowy. With the snow and ice comes a lot of outdoor activities and beautiful scenery, but it is not without its dangers. Drivers find it more difficult to maneuver through the snowy conditions and pedestrians can suffer serious injuries during a slip and fall accident. Property owners in New York City are required to remove snow and ice from their driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and other areas. They also have a duty to clear the snow and ice within a certain amount of time.
Unfortunately, not all property owners comply with the law in NYC and people become hurt as a result. When this is the case and a pedestrian becomes hurt, they can file a lawsuit to claim compensation for their injuries. If you have suffered as a result of a property owner’s negligence, our NYC slip and fall lawyers can help you claim the full settlement you deserve.
The Law on Clearing Ice and Snow in New York City
Under the New York City Administration Code (NYCAC), Section 16-123, property owners have a duty to remove ice and snow from their property. They must do so within four hours after the snow has stopped falling. For example, if the snow stopped falling at noon, property owners would have until 4:00 p.m. to clear the ice and snow from their property. Property owners must also clear dirt and other debris that tends to collect on sidewalks along with falling ice and snow in the same amount of time.
Mistakenly, many people believe they only have to clear ice and snow from their driveways. That is not true. Property owners must clear all snow and ice from all areas of their property, including:
- Pathways that lead onto the property from adjoining sidewalks
- Sidewalks that adjoin the property
- Parking lots
- Front steps
It is important to note that a property owner must only clear ice and snow from their property four hours after the snowfall during daytime hours. The four-hour rule does not apply during the hours between 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. During a continuous storm that lasts for several hours, or even days, property owners are only required to clear the snow, ice, and other debris once the storm is over.
Also under the NYCAC, Section 16-123, when property is covered in frozen snow and ice, it may not be possible to clear the space without damaging the sidewalk or asphalt. In this case, the law allows property owners to use sawdust, ash, sand, or other materials to make the property less slippery. Once the weather conditions improve and the ice and snow is no longer frozen solid, property owners are then required to clear it.
Lastly, it is not only property owners who are responsible for clearing ice and snow. When a property has been leased or rented out, the lessee or tenant takes on the responsibility of clearing ice and snow from the property.
What Injuries Do Slip and Fall Accidents on Ice and Snow Cause?
A slip and fall accident on ice and snow will cause many different injuries. The most common of these include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Torn tendons and ligaments
- Herniated or slipped discs
The injuries you may suffer during a slip and fall will depend on how exactly you fell. For example, many people have time to put their hand out to try and break the fall. In this case, you may suffer from fractures in your hand, fingers, wrists, shoulders, and elbows. On the other hand, if you fall flat back and cannot reach out to break the fall, you may suffer from a concussion or another type of traumatic brain injury.
How to Determine Liability After a Fall On Snow and Ice
It may sound like an easy task to determine who is liable, or at fault, for your injuries after a fall on snow and ice. You may think you only have to determine who the property owner or tenant is. In some cases, this is the way to determine who was liable for injuries, but it is not always so straightforward.
Sometimes, a property manager may hire another company to clear ice and snow from the property. This is commonly seen in condominium and apartment buildings. These third party companies are responsible for performing the job in a reasonably safe manner so no one becomes injured. When these companies do not fulfill their duty to properly clear the ice and snow, they can also be held liable.
When a slip and fall happens on public property owned by the state or municipal government, it becomes much harder to determine who is liable for injuries. Sometimes, the abutting property owner is liable for these slip and falls, whether they own a residence or a business adjoining the sidewalk. In other cases, the government agency is responsible for removing ice and snow from these areas, and they can also be held liable when they fail to clear it.
New York City follows the model of pure comparative negligence. This means you can be found partly liable for your injuries. However, even if you were 99 percent to blame, you can still claim a certain amount of damages for your injury. The amount you receive will be reduced by the same amount of liability you carried. It is important to speak to a New York City slip and fall lawyer who can determine which party was to blame for your accident, and defend against arguments that you were partly to blame.
Call Our Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers in NYC
Slip and falls are not the minor accidents many people think they are. They cause very serious injuries that are long-lasting for accident victims. If you have been hurt, our New York City slip and fall accident lawyers at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos, P.C. can help you claim the full settlement you deserve. Call us today at 1-877-ASK4SAM or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys.