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.
One case our office recently handled involved a Staten Island woman who was walking out of her condominium when she slipped and fell on black ice in the roadway in front of her driveway. Even though it had been raining at the time of the incident, with the use of a weather expert, we were able to establish that the rain did not form into ice, and that the ice which was present in the roadway had been there for at least two days.
Thus, we were able to successfully rebut the defendants’ arguments and obtain a $850,000 recovery for this Staten Island Hospital worker who fractured her left wrist and developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy several months later. The failure of the party responsible to maintain their property in a safe and proper condition is discussed in our premises liability section, and we have obtain significant recoveries in numerous other cases for those seriously injured as a result of a defendant’s negligent care of his or her property.
Like any other case, the facts and circumstances are taken into consideration in what is “reasonable” under the circumstances. For instance, we have often successfully argued that a landowner who knows that there will be pedestrians coming onto their property have a heightened duty to ensure the property is free from any snow or ice even if it had stopped snowing a relatively short time before the incident. In this context, our position is that shopping centers and other commercial establishments should ensure that there is a safe path leading to the entrance of their property for customers before they open for business. This argument would also apply to any office buildings, schools, condominium associations or any other facilities that have reason to expect that people would be expected to walk into their property on a particular day.
In the case discussed above, we utilized our vast experience in establishing liability on a premises owner, and with the assistance of expert testimony, were able to obtain a settlement which justly compensated our client for her pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a fall on ice due to negligently maintained property, please do not hesitate to contact us.