“I’ve just slipped on ice, and I fractured my ankle? What should I do?”
New York just had its first significant snow of the winter, and it is a good opportunity to discuss recovery for snow and ice injuries.
A property owner has the duty to clear away snow and ice in reasonable amount of time after the end of the storm. The owner does not have to remove snow and ice during the storm.
If you have been injured in a snow or ice accident, please feel free to call me at 800-581-1434.
A property owner must do the following:
- clear walkways and courtyards inside the property;
- clean public sidewalks adjoining the premises;
- clean driveways within the premises;
- shovel and sand outside steps and ramps;
- prevent ice from accumulating and falling from the roof; and
- prevent further icing during snow thaw and subsequent freezing temperatures.
Generally, the law holds the adjoining property owner responsible for sidewalk ice and snow clearance. Under prior law, New York City was liable unless the property owner either caused or contributed to the condition. We handled a case where the client fell in front of a garage. She fractured her wrist, and she had surgery. We were able to show that although there was a narrow path cut in the snow, the garage created an ice condition since its cars went in and out of the garage over the path. We had photographs taken the next day which showed frozen tire tracks on the pathway. We settled the case before trial.
We handled a couple of cases where ice fell from the building and injured our clients. In one case our client, a policeman, was walking patrol on West 42nd Street in front of the Grace Building. A chunk of ice fell from the building and hit the client in the face. He sustained a fractured eye orbit which required surgery. We were able to show that the building had notice of the problem of falling ice and had failed to take adequate steps to remove ice from the roof. The case was settled.
In a snow and ice accident it is crucial to get photographs and investigation as soon as possible. In the case of the garage photos were taken the next day while the snow was melting. Our quick investigation made the case.
If you have been injured by a slip and fall on snow and ice, please call me at 800-581-1434.
Mark E. Seitelman, 12/19/08, www.seitelman.com.