Winter brings all kinds of wonderful things—snow, hot chocolate, the Holidays. But an unfortunate side effect of winter snow, sleet and ice is the possibility of slips and falls. The CDC estimates that 800,000 people a year are hospitalized for slip & fall accidents.
If you live in New York City, a slip & fall accident might not be an “if” but a “when.” You might just be embarrassed for falling, but it’s not always funny. Broken bones, sprained ankles, cartilage damage, spinal cord injuries and even concussions are possible and can have a severe impact on your everyday life. You could be permanently disabled as the result of slipping and falling on ice or snow. Elderly and disabled individuals are at a particular risk for injury during the winter months.
Business and other property owners (including homeowners) are responsible for clearing four-foot paths on sidewalks for the general public (and not pushing snow into the street.) The NY Department of Sanitation has specific guidelines for clearing pedestrian areas, and fines for those who don’t.
New York City also has a specific Administrative Code that spells out maintenance for owners of the sidewalk, and the liability they face for not taking care of a sidewalk as needed. This includes repairs, regular maintenance and snow/ice removal.
If a property owner and/or manager knew about dangerous winter conditions but neglected to remedy them, a slip & fall accident becomes a personal injury case. A personal injury attorney can help you recover from your injuries and get you compensation for lost wages and other expenses.
It Can Happen Anywhere, Anytime
Slip & Trip accidents happen all year long but are particularly bad during the winter months with icy sidewalks, trip hazards hidden under still-unplowed snow, or wet floor conditions when people go indoors from walking in snow. Any kind of substance on a walking surface—water, soap, oil, ice—or damage such as a cracked sidewalk can be a hazard.
Public buildings and places like shopping malls and grocery stores are particularly susceptible to unseen water puddles. Most companies try to keep the floors dry and safe for the public, but there are occasions where some are missed, or simply neglected by the facility manager. Sidewalks are usually maintained by the owner, (including a municipality) but are occasionally neglected.
Notifying pedestrians with signs that warn about wet or other dangerous surfaces are usually deployed if the place of business knows about the condition.
If You Are Injured
If you are able and have a camera-enabled phone with you, take pictures and document your surroundings where the accident occurred, including weather conditions. If you have witnesses, get statements and contact information. Gather as much evidence as you can before you leave the area. If you decide to hire an attorney, evidence will be very valuable to them and for your case.
You should, of course, seek medical attention for your injuries, and keep your medical records in order.
Report the accident to the property owner, facility manager or another responsible person. Make sure an accident report is created to document the incident and your injuries.
Winter Ice & Snow Fall Prevention
Winter in New York City can be particularly dangerous. While we can’t protect ourselves and our loved ones from everything, we can take precautions to reduce the chances of injury from slip and fall accidents in winter conditions. The University of Idaho offers these specific recommendations to its students. They’re applicable anywhere that experiences heavy winter conditions.
NYC Family-Owned Personal Injury Law Firm
Have you been hurt in a slip & fall accident due to an owner’s negligence? Call us at (212) 777-9400. As a family-owned personal injury law firm in New York City, we have more than 26 years of experience helping people just like you. Our contingency fee arrangement means we won’t get paid until you do, whether we settle your case in or out of court.