The winter time in New York City is a wonderful time, filled with beautiful scenery and plenty of holiday music admiring the falling of snow on the ground. Unfortunately, the famous song “Let It Snow” describes how many New Yorkers feel about snow and ice — “Oh, the weather outside is frightful.”
And with the colder temperature in the Northeast comes snowy and icy conditions on sidewalks and steps in New York City. These conditions provide for a potentially dangerous situation as people walk around New York City along the sidewalks and tourists take in the picturesque sights.
New York City laws require property owners, business owners and property managers to remove ice, snow and other dangerous hazards from properties in a timely manner. If they fail to do so and you are injured in a fall, the property owner or manager could be held responsible for your injuries.
This means that property owners in New York City have a legal duty to keep public walkways surrounding their property clear of snow and ice.
If you have been injured as a result of slipping on ice or snow, you may have the right to sue the responsible owner or property manager.
Owners Required To Timely Remove Snow And Ice
New York's laws concerning premises liability serve to protect the public and those walking on sidewalks and steps. New York's laws require property owners to take reasonable steps to clear ice and remove snow in a timely manner in order to avoid and prevent slip and fall accidents.
In particular, the law in New York City provides property owners or managers with four hours to remove ice and snow from public sidewalks surrounding their properties once the snow stops falling. The removal of snow and ice has to be done by the owner or property manager so that they do not create a more dangerous condition. For example, if an owner removes snow but in doing so creates a pile of snow blocking a sidewalk or crosswalk, that owner could be responsible if a person is injured as a result.
If frozen ice cannot be removed immediately, then the owner or property manager has to cover the area with sand, salt, sawdust or other materials, and then clear the area when the weather permits.
The 4-hour deadline will not apply between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., in Queens and Staten Island. In those areas, the owner or manager must only begin to remove snow and ice before the four-hour deadline.
Who Is Responsible for Slip and Falls on Ice and Snow in NYC
New York laws permit a person who has been injured by slipping on snow or ice that was not properly removed from a New York City sidewalk to hold that property manager or owner responsible if:
- The owner/manager caused an unsafe or hazardous condition by not removing ice or snow in a timely manner.
- The owner/manager knew about the ice or snow but did not take steps to remove or fix it.
- The owner/manager should have known about the ice or snow because a reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed the unsafe condition.
Our attorneys will help guide you on the next steps and how to best position yourself to make a successful claim for a slip and fall accident.
What To Do If You Are Injured On Snow Or Ice
If you have been injured after slipping and falling on snow or ice, you should immediately take the following steps:
Report the incident. You should notify the property owner or manager of the accident and what happened. You may also want to contact the police in order to have a police report written up. If you were injured at a business or in a parking lot, you should immediately notify the manager of the business or store adjacent to the parking lot. Notifying the owner not only will assist with your case, but you are also providing the owner with notice so that other people will not be injured at the same location again in the future. You will want to obtain the accident report from the owner or manager as soon as possible. If you are seriously hurt, you should call an ambulance.
Document the scene. If you can, make sure to take pictures and video of the area on which you fell and were injured. It is important to obtain photographic evidence of what the sidewalk or area looked like at the time you were injured. Try to get the names and contact information of any witnesses who may have seen you fall and can describe the scene. Also obtain the names, titles, addresses and phone numbers of any managers or employees at the area. Try to write down the names of any businesses that are adjacent to the area on which you fell. Snow and ice may be difficult to photograph, so try to get close up photos and photos with objects in the background to show the proper scale or context of the ice or snow.
Seek medical treatment and document your injuries. You should seek medical treatment for your injuries immediately. In addition, you should document your injuries by taking photos of any injuries and obtaining any medical records from hospitals or physicians who have treated you. You should also keep all receipts of any expenses you incur as a result, even something as little as buying aspirin at the pharmacy. You should also start a written or video journal of how your injuries have impacted your life and how your recovery is coming along.
Do not speak with an insurance adjuster. Many times, the insurance company for the owner or property manager might contact you to ask about your injuries and about the incident. They may even offer you some money for your injuries. Be very careful – they are not your friends and do not have your best interests in mind. To the contrary, they are only interested in giving you the least amount of compensation possible. And do not sign any papers, like a waiver or release, without speaking to an attorney first.
Contact an experienced slip and fall attorney. It is important to contact an attorney with experience handling slip and fall cases. These types of cases can be complicated, and there are a number of laws and regulations that could apply to your case. You need an attorney with experience to guide you through the process and fight for your rights.
Hunt & Associates has represented many New Yorkers who have been seriously injured in slip and fall accidents in New York City and the surrounding Boroughs. While you may have a valid premises liability claim, it is very important to begin examining the case as soon as possible.
Our attorneys will talk to you for FREE to discuss your legal options and next steps for your case. To get your free consultation, call us at 1-866-456-HUNT (4868) or contact us here. Hablamos español o puedes contactarnos aquí.