The winter months of each year in New York usually bring bone-chilling cold temperatures, numerous heavy downpours, and sporadic snowstorms. It’s nature and it’s a part of life, but with these weather conditions also comes dangerous conditions on roads and on foot. According to the CDC, more than a million people in the United States will visit the emergency room as a result of a slip and fall accident. You only need to walk into the local emergency rooms the days following any snowstorm, big or small, and you will be sure to encounter numerous people who have slipped and fallen on slippery sidewalks and icy conditions. The slippery and icy conditions can be an attraction for the young kids who can venture out with their sleds or go to the nearby ice rink, but for adults, these treacherous conditions pose many problems and dangers.
Deaths as a result of slip and fall accidents account for about 17,000 people each year. The scary reality is that these accidents can happen, no matter how cautious you are. A walk along a slippery and dangerous sidewalk can easily result in a fall and when you fall, it’s usually concrete, a subway grate or a cellar door that you fall on. A bang to the head can cause a traumatic brain injury and injury to any other body part can cause a fracture, spinal injury or torn ligaments. The effects of any of those injuries can be permanent, debilitating, and disabling.
If you’ve recently been injured as a result of a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk, then you should reach out to an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney in New York and you should contact the trusted New York slip and fall accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Darren T. Moore PC Our experienced personal injury attorneys have dealt with numerous slip and fall cases and are here to help you with your case.
What can cause a slip and fall accident?
- Slippery sidewalk caused by a broken downspout or broken drain
- A build-up of ice and snow on the sidewalk
- Improperly shoveled snow and ice from the sidewalk
Who is Held Accountable for Injuries From a Slip and Fall Accident on a sidewalk in New York?
New York City Administrative Code section 7-210 is the section that applies and that is also commonly known as the New York City Sidewalk Law. The code applies to all accidents that have occurred since September 14, 2003, and it was enacted in order to shift responsibility for the condition of the sidewalks from the City of New York and onto the real property owners. The exception to that shift in liability is when the real property owner is a 1, 2 or 3-family home that is in whole or in part owner-occupied. In that situation, the liability provision does not shift to the owner.
The code states in part:
A It shall be the duty of the owner of real property abutting any sidewalk, including, but not limited to, the intersection quadrant for corner property, to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition.
B Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the owner of real property abutting any sidewalk, including, but not limited to, the intersection quadrant for corner property, shall be liable for any injury to property or personal injury, including death, proximately caused by the failure of such owner to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. Failure to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition shall include, but not be limited to, the negligent failure to install, construct, reconstruct, repave, repair or replace defective sidewalk flags and the negligent failure to remove snow, ice, dirt or other material from the sidewalk. This subdivision shall not apply to one-, two- or three-family residential real property that is (i) in whole or in part, owner-occupied, and (ii) used exclusively for residential purposes.”
This code, therefore, puts the responsibility for the condition of the sidewalks and area surrounding property within New York city on the property owner, with the exception of 1, 2 and 3-family homes.
It is, therefore, a property owner’s responsibility to make sure that their property is in a “reasonably” safe condition for guests, patrons, visitors, and everyday pedestrians. This includes in front of and around their premises, for example, the sidewalk around the premises and even car parks attached to the premises. If there is any dangerous condition and they have either actual or constructive notice and/or they caused and created the condition and that dangerous condition causes injury, they can be held liable.
Now, the words “actual notice”, “constructive notice” and “cause and create” are legal terms that in essence mean that; (i) they, meaning the owner, knew about the dangerous condition = “actual notice”; (ii) the condition existed long enough that even if the owner didn’t know about the condition, they should have known about it = “constructive” and (iii) Defendants by their actions or failure to take action, caused the condition complained of = “cause and create.”
If the property owner fails to correct, repair or remedy a dangerous condition that they know of, should know of or that they caused and that condition causes injury, then they will be held responsible for someone’s injuries as a result of a slip and fall incident.
What about snow and ice on the sidewalk?
Injury from slipping on snow and ice as stated above can be debilitating and even life-threatening. Snow and ice accidents on a New York City sidewalk require an experienced personal injury attorney Manhattan to evaluate all of the surrounding facts and circumstances to be able to identify if you have a case. Whether or not a property owner is responsible will depend on (i) how long the condition itself has existed, (ii) whether anyone tried or attempted to remove the snow and ice prior to your accident, (iii) when it last snowed prior to the accident and (iv) is there a “storm in progress” defense.
In New York, New York City Administrative Code Section 16-123 deals with the responsibility of a property owner when it comes to the removal of snow and ice from in front of and around their premises.
The section states in part that
“Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or other person, having charge of any building or lot of ground in the city, abutting upon any street where the sidewalk is paved, shall, within four hours after the snow ceases to fall, or after the deposit of any dirt or other material upon such sidewalk, remove the snow or ice, dirt, or other material from the sidewalk and gutter, the time between nine post meridian and seven ante meridian not being included in the above period of four hours.”
The section essentially states that every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person has four hours from when the snow stops to begin to remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of their premises. This requirement does not, however, apply between the hours of 9pm and 7am.
It’s because of the applicability of the different sections of the New York City Administrative Code and the sidewalk law in New York that you need to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney New York who is skilled and familiar with the area of slip and fall accidents.
What is the “Storm In Progress” defense?
The “storm in progress” defense shields property owners from liability where the accident complained of, occurs during a storm. The basis for the defense is that the Courts have held, and rightly so, that it would be unreasonable to expect that a property owner go out and attempt to remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of their property while a storm is ongoing. This is reasonable and makes sense and is also why the Courts have enacted the above section 16-123, which gives property owners the 4-hour window to begin snow and ice removal.
It’s the reckless and careless property owners who leave the snow and ice accumulating and sitting on their sidewalks for more than four hours after cessation and at times for days on end that are held responsible for causing injuries to pedestrians and patrons.
The slip and fall accident attorneys in Manhattan at The Law Offices of Darren T. Moore. PC will thoroughly investigate your case, identify the causes, and help you determine whom to hold accountable for your injuries.
What will a personal injury attorney do for me?
- Investigate the facts of your case and identify which laws may or may not apply
- Obtain pictures of the condition if they were taken or still exist
- Seek witnesses
- Check the certified weather data
- Find out who the owner is and identify responsible parties
Don’t Let Yourself Be Taken Advantage Of!
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a slip and fall accident, on a sidewalk because of an icy condition or because of a snow and ice incident, you should seek out an experienced, knowledgeable personal injury attorney. You should call the Law Offices of Darren T. Moore PC for a free consultation. Our team of highly experienced slip and fall accident attorneys in New York will be there to evaluate your case and help you every step of the way to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our Motto is “MOORE JUSTICE” and we seek that in every case retained by our firm.
Call us today at (917)809-7014 for a free consultation.