Can I Sue for Compensation if I was Injured Due to Snow or Ice?

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Wednesday, Feb 21, 2024

By Abraham Jaros - New York City has had a winter with cold weather and much snow and ice. Unfortunately, with snow and ice there is an increased risk of falling and suffering an injury. At Jaroslawicz and Jaros we have received many calls from clients asking what rights you have to be compensated for your injuries if you slipped and fell due to snow and/or ice. One minute you are walking to or from work, school or shopping and the next moment you are lying on the sidewalk with back pain or with a fractured arm, wrist or leg. When you slip and fall on steps or sidewalks covered with snow and ice you may suffer from serious and disabling injuries. One of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents are ice and snow conditions. Surfaces covered with snow and ice, whether on sidewalks, outdoor steps or parking lots, are hazardous for pedestrians. What is known as “black ice", which is often difficult to see and avoid, is especially dangerous and often causes falls resulting in serious injuries. Accidents like these typically happen on sidewalks or steps in front of residential buildings or businesses or in parking lots. Property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care when it comes to maintaining these areas and promptly removing the snow and ice to reduce the risk of falls and injuries. After a snowstorm, property owners are expected to remove snow and treat icy patches in a “timely" manner. The New York City Administrative Code requires that property owners be responsible for cleaning snow and ice from their sidewalks. When adjoining property owners ignore snow and ice accumulations, or in some cases even make things worse, they may be held responsible to compensate anyone who suffers an injury due to that snow and ice condition. As in every personal injury negligence case the question or issue is always-what was “reasonable" to expect of the property owner? Did the property owner act reasonably? What is a reasonable time to clear snow and ice? In New York City property owners have four hours to clear snow from public sidewalks after a daytime snowfall and if the snowfall stops during the evening or nighttime they must clear the sidewalks by 11 a.m. the next morning. What is reasonable for snow or ice conditions in parking lots or on steps on commercial or residential property? Were reasonable steps taken to make the area safe? Did they have enough time to clean and clear the area? Was salt or sand used? Was snow piled up and then caused to melt and re-freeze into “black ice? Is there a depression that causes water to accumulate and become “black ice"? These are just some of the questions your attorney needs to answer in determining what is called “liability"-is the owner of the property responsible to compensate you for your injury? Many property owners have contracts with companies that perform snow and ice removal to keep their parking lots and sidewalks clean. Whether the owner hires a company to maintain and clean the snow and ice or the owner has his own employees do the work the question is always whether the property owner’s conduct was “reasonable" under the circumstances. In helping you to determine if you have a viable case your attorney will need to obtain the weather reports to see when it last rained or snowed before your accident and what the temperatures were. If you can obtain photos of the area as it looked around the time of the accident it would be helpful to your case as snow and ice conditions change so rapidly. If you or someone you know was injured as a result of slipping or falling on a sidewalk, steps, or parking lot due to snow and ice you may be entitled to recover for your medical bills, lost earnings as well as for your pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney at Jaroslawicz and Jaros can explain your rights and help you determine whether you have a valid claim to be compensated for your injuries.

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