The winter can be dangerous. Sometimes sidewalks are covered in sheets of ice, snow and sleet. Many times we find ourselves with nowhere safe to walk without risking slipping and falling, which could result in significant bodily injuries. Our office has had many successes in holding property owners responsible for their failure to provide pathways clear of ice and snow for pedestrians.
A doorman was tragically killed on the Upper East Side while shoveling snow during the snowstorm this week. In what the New York Post dubbed a freak accident, Miguel Gonzalez, 59, slipped while he was shoveling snow, fell down a set of stairs, and had his throat slashed as he crashed through a window pane.
The Law Office of Louis Grandelli recently litigated a case where a plaintiff was injured due to an unsafe worksite, and we were able to prove that the plaintiff had a viable third-party claim against his employer. The injured worker was performing his normal duties at his worksite, when he fell head first into a hole that had been improperly excavated in his work area by a construction company, causing him to sustain a brain injury.
Ari R. Lieberman, an associate Louis Grandelli, P.C., recently won a precedent-setting appeal in Lalla v. State of New York, further expanding a plaintiff's right to recover in slip and fall cases. The plaintiff, Nicole Lalla, slipped and fell due to a snow and ice condition at the College of Staten Island. The evidence submitted at trial demonstrated that the snowfall had stopped during the night prior to the accident and that steps leading to a building had not been cleared of snow and ice. The evidence further showed that Ms. Lalla was left with no alternative cleared route to travel safely to her class. Despite this evidence, at trial, the judge determined that the College of Staten Island was not negligent in the happening of the accident. Mr. Lieberman, submitted the brief to the Appellate Division, Second Department, arguing that the trial court's determination should be reversed as a matter of law. The appellate panel reversed the trial court's determination and found that the College of Staten Island should have removed the snow and ice from the stairway, and were, therefore, negligent. Significantly, the Second Department found that the plaintiff was not negligent at all in the happening of the accident, since she was not provided an alternate safe route. If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Louis Grandelli, P.C.
This winter's record cold and snowfall have rendered New York City's sidewalks slippery and dangerous. Everyone has either fallen or knows someone who has fallen on snow, ice, or slush. In maintaining a lawsuit against the party responsible for snow and ice removal in the area where you fell, it is important to take notice of and be able to describe the particular icy condition that caused you to slip.
After months of a record cold New York winter, formerly safe passageways, paths, and sidewalks have all too often become dangerous as they are covered in ice and snow. While diligent property owners and municipalities do their part to keep all routes safe some of them inevitably fail to shovel and salt. As a result, many New Yorkers have no choice but to risk trying to walk through the ice and snow to get where they need to go.
In New York City, a landowner has the duty to clear snow and ice from the sidewalk, and their failure to do so can be the basis for liability in a slip and fall case. This is true for a private landowner, as well as the City. However, a long standing defense for landowners in snow and ice cases is the "Storm in Progress" defense. Courts have long recognized that the duty of the property owner to clear snow and ice from public paths, parking lots, roadways, and sidewalks, does not commence until a reasonably sufficient time after a storm has ended.
At this time of the year, it's important for all of us to watch ourselves when walking outside in view of the icy and slippery conditions. It is equally important that landowners, or those responsible to maintain their property, perform their obligations to ensure that the property is in a reasonably safe condition. As discussed below, the law requiring a party to maintain property in a reasonably safe condition applies to homeowners associations in condominium developments.
During the winter months, it is not an uncommon occurrence for someone to slip and fall due to snow and/or icy conditions. Many times, these accidents result in serious and permanent injuries. However, not every slip and fall results in compensation for the victim's pain and suffering. The plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant was negligent. This often means that the plaintiff must show that the defendant either had notice of the dangerous condition or created the condition.