Snow and Ice Injuries Attorneys
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New York City has winters with cold weather and much snow and ice. Unfortunately, with snow and ice there is an increased risk of slipping and falling resulting in an injury. 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.
At Jaroslawicz and Jaros every winter we receive many calls from clients asking what rights they have to be compensated for their injuries if they slipped and fell due to snow or ice.
One of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents in the winter are ice and snow conditions. Surfaces covered with snow and ice, whether on sidewalks, outdoor steps or parking lots, become 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. A layer of ice that is left underneath snow becomes especially dangerous as it cannot even be seen to be avoided.
It is common knowledge that snow and ice are very slippery. So, does that mean if you slip and fall and suffer an injury while out walking you have nobody to blame but yourself? The answer to this question is everyone’s least favorite lawyer cop-out: it depends.
If you fall down and hurt yourself while cleaning off your own front steps you probably have nobody to blame but yourself and Old Man Winter. But, if you live in the building where you fell, and it is not your responsibility to clear away the snow and ice, you may have a case against those who are responsible to keep it clean and safe.
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?
Property owners in New York City know that they have to clear off snow and ice in a “timely manner.” This typically means they must clear the area within 4 hours of the snowfall, or, if it stops snowing during the evening or nighttime, by the next morning. If a property owner did not make a reasonable effort to make their property safe within the allotted time frame, you may seek compensation for any injury suffered because of the owner's negligence.
The fact that a property owner undertakes to remove snow or ice from their property does not preclude their liability. They must do so with reasonable care. That is, liability may still exist if it is shown that their efforts made the sidewalk even more hazardous.
In the case of Guzman v. Broadway 922, decided July 2, 2015, the Appellate Division First Department, decided that: “Plaintiff testified that the ice on which she slipped was covered by a thin layer of recently fallen, clean snow, that the ice, which she felt with her hand after she fell, was dark, dirty, and very thick, and that there was built-up dirty snow in the area, as a result of “a really bad job at cleaning.” Plaintiff’s expert opined that the ice formed either because of “the improper clean-up of past storms” or from the melting of the snow piled up in the area and its refreezing, … on the night before plaintiff’s accident, when the temperature fell to below freezing. …”
What is reasonable for snow or ice conditions in parking lots or on steps on commercial or residential property? What was done 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 on the sides and then caused to melt and refreeze 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?
As you can see snow and ice cases can be tricky to navigate as your lawyer needs to be able to take your unique facts and apply them to the applicable law. Weather experts are usually required to explain the weather conditions and what happened to the ice and snow after it fell.
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 very helpful to your case as snow and ice conditions change so rapidly.
Snow and ice cases, also, do not stop once you get inside the front door. If you slip and fall on water that has accumulated inside a place of business or residential building, because people have tracked in snow that later melted, you may be able to seek compensation from the property owner if they knew or should have known about the wet floor, but did nothing about it.
At Jaroslawicz & Jaros we have represented many Plaintiffs who were injured while entering an office or residential building while it was wet out, either due to snow or rain, and the building failed to put out mats on the slippery lobby floor or stairs.
There are a lot of strange things that happen when the weather gets weird, so just because what happened to you may have been unusual, does not mean you are not eligible for compensation for your injuries.
At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.
The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?
When you retain the New York City accident lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, you will always work directly with your lawyer, and not with a paralegal or secretary. We will always be available to you! Our hundreds of positive client reviews and testimonials speak for themselves.
Contact the attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros for a free legal consultation regarding your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.
You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.