Snow and Ice Injuries
With the severe winter we had in New York last winter, and the prediction of similar weather by many climatologists for this winter, slip and fall injuries are a significant safety issue for our clients, particularly elderly people and those with disabilities. Many of our clients suffered broken limbs, torn tendons or ligaments, and back and neck injuries from falls on sidewalks, parking lots, driveways, entering apartment buildings, malls and supermarkets.
Owners of businesses are not guarantors of safety, but if they are inviting members of the public to their establishments, they are obligated under the law to make the parking lots, walkways, buildings and floors inside the premises reasonably safe. For parking areas, owners usually retain one set of contractors to perform snow and ice removal from parking areas with plow trucks, and often a different company or individual contractors to clear pathways with shovels and snow blowers. Under the law in New York, if someone is injured due to a slip and fall as the result of the negligence of a business owner in allowing snow or ice to accumulate, the injured person may have a claim or lawsuit against the business owner but cannot sue the snow removal contactor directly.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it is essential that you retain experienced attorneys who are familiar with the complexities of a premises liability case. New York law requires that the property owner have “notice” or knowledge of the ice and/or snow condition which has caused you to fall, and a sufficient period of time to clear and remove the unsafe condition before the owner can be held legally responsible for your injuries. In addition, if a storm is ongoing, the owner will generally not be liable for injuries that occur during the snow or other precipitation, unless it can be proven that the fall was due to an accumulation of ice and snow that was present prior to the storm. Further, an owner of property is provided with a period of time immediately after a snowfall to clear his or her property of snow and ice.
In an accident involving a municipality, such as a fall on a sidewalk or parking lot owned and operated by a city, town, or village, there are additional requirements which make the case more complicated and difficult to win. For example, municipalities are entitled to “prior written notice” of the dangerous snow and ice condition, (which is obviously an almost impossible standard in a case involving a transient condition such as an icy sidewalk). Further, the claimant is required to promptly file a notice of claim shortly after the accident as a condition to filing suit.
The experienced and dedicated litigators at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel, with conveniently located offices in the Bronx, White Plains, and Peekskill, NY, have successfully litigated hundreds of slip and fall cases throughout the State of New York in the federal and state Courts since 1986. We are thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of this area of law and know that it is essential to obtain and preserve evidence immediately, including obtaining photographs of the snow and ice condition, statements from witnesses to the accident or the condition, retaining experts where necessary and securing certified weather reports to establish that there was no precipitation at the time of the accident and the owner had sufficient time to remove the snow and ice prior to the accident.
If you have been injured in a snow and ice accident, contact us online for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail.