Snow and ice liability cases must be handled by an attorney familiar with them; someone who is familiar with the weather reports compiled by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the use of experts regarding the amount of snow and ice on the ground at a specific time and the applicable statutes, laws and rules.The Queens NY law firm of POPICK & RUTMAN is highly experienced in handling snow and ice liability cases. In the course of 30 years, the lawyers at POPICK & RUTMAN have handled cases involving just about every slip and fall on ice scenario possible.
There are many variables in determining if you can recover money damages for injuries sustained when you slip and fall on snow or ice. A fall due to snow and ice would appear like a simple case. But there are many factors involved in determining if there is a responsible party to make a claim against. That is why hiring an experienced law firm such as POPICK & RUTMAN is important.
Snow and ice cases are governed by the same general principals of premises liability cases involving a dangerous condition such as a broken step. The person responsible for the property, usually the owner or commercial tenant, can be held liable for a slip and fall on its property because of a snow and ice condition if it created the condition, made the condition worse, if it knew about the condition but failed to clean it a reasonable time after learning of it or it should have known of the condition but did not.
An initial factor is to determine where the accident occurred. For instance, it makes a difference whether the slip and fall occurred in the street, on a sidewalk, inside a building, outside a building but on private property or within the City of New York. It makes a difference whether it was snowing and if not, the last time it did snow or sleet.
Under the New York City Administrative Code 7-210 the owner of a property adjacent to a sidewalk in the City of New York is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk clear of snow and ice. The exception is if it is a one or two family owner occupied dwelling. Slips and falls on snow and ice in the street are primarily the responsibility of the municipality (city, village or town) where it occurred. Falls within or on private property are the responsibilities of the owner or possessor of the property.
It is generally difficult to hold a party responsible for a snow or ice condition when the fall occurs during a snow storm. The party is protected by the "storm in progress" defense. Falls that occur during a storm are not actionable under the theory that the responsible party has the right to wait a reasonable period of time after a snow storm before they must clean the snow and ice.
The exception to the rule is when the responsible party makes the condition worse by shoveling and doing a poor job. For example they shoveled and left a thin layer of snow without putting salt on it and it becomes ice. Another exception is when the party fell on snow and ice which was there prior to the current storm.
In many situations a party responsible for removing snow and ice will hire or have a contract with an outside party to remove the snow and ice for them, basically a snow removal contractor. These contractors are hired to remove snow and ice from parking lots and sidewalks. Usually the injured person only has a cause of action against the owner of property for failing to maintain the condition in a reasonably safe condition. There is an exception when the snow removal company makes the condition worse by their snow removal efforts.
If you have injuries sustained when you slipped and fell on snow or ice, just call (718) 321-7460 today to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys. Consultations are free and there is no obligation.