While many areas of the country have been hit hard with winter weather already this year, New York City has been unscathed so far. However, while we did not get a White Christmas this year in New York, it is important to keep in mind the potential dangers of wintry weather that often may create a hazard for pedestrians. Under New York State law, property owners and municipalities are charged with doing their part to keep all routes, such as walkways, sidewalks, and driveways, free of icy or snowy conditions. Failure to do so may give rise to liability on behalf of the property owner or municipality in the unfortunate event that someone slips and falls.
Under New York law, if there is ongoing precipitation, including rain, snow, and sleet, a landowner or occupant of land (such as a tenant in a commercial building or condominium) has no legal obligation to clear the premises of snow and ice until a “reasonable amount of time” has elapsed. Whether a “reasonable amount of time” has elapsed such that the landowner/tenant may be held liable for the injuries to a person who slipped and fell depends upon a number of factors, including what time the storm began, what time the storm ended, how long after the cessation of the storm the accident occurred, the amount of accumulation, and the type of property where the accident occurred. Under the law, a homeowner is generally afforded more time than a retail store owner to clear the premises of snow and ice. Importantly, for New Yorkers living in The Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, the City of New York is afforded more time than the average homeowner or commercial tenant, as the areas that the City must clear is much greater than any one commercial premises or home.
Winters in New York can lead to serious accidents on sidewalks, as well as roadways.
Often, strong gusts of wind and freezing temperatures result in down trees and tree branches throughout the five boroughs, as well as icy conditions on roadways. Often, many people are surprised to discover that they still may be at fault if they cause a car accident during a snowstorm, or are involved in a collision on icy roads. Importantly, every driver on the road must act with due care depending on the conditions of the roadway.
The lawyers at The Grandelli Firm have extensive experience fighting for the rights of our clients who have been injured in slip and fall accidents on snow and ice. If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall on snow and ice, contact our office for a free consultation.