Were You injured in a fall on ice in New York City?
Ice on sidewalks, parking lots, outdoors stairs and other surfaces is common during New York winters. Property owners have a legal responsibility to clear, salt or sand ice to mitigate the danger it poses to people who might slip and fall and be injured. Negligent property owners can be held liable for injuries in slip and fall accidents that happen because of ice.
Many jurisdictions in the NYC metro area have ordinances specifying that property owners are allowed a reasonable amount of time after inclement weather to remove or mitigate accumulated ice and snow. Regulations and liability apply to residential as well as commercial and public property owners. All can be held accountable for slip and fall accidents and injuries they could have prevented.
An experienced New York City slip and fall lawyer from David Resnick & Associates, P.C., can determine whether liability exists in a slip and fall accident on ice that left you or a loved one of yours injured. We may be able to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and your pain and suffering related to the slip-and-fall injury. Call us today at 212-279-2000 or use our online contact form to set up a free legal consultation.
Responsibility for a Slip and Fall Accident on Ice in New York City
Under New York City law, property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their building and grounds in reasonably safe condition. That includes keeping walkways free of ice and snow. When a property owner fails to meet their duty of safety to others and someone is hurt because of their negligence, the injured individual may seek compensation from the property owner.
However, the law also provides property owners a reasonable amount of time to recognize that a hazard exists on their property and to mitigate the danger or warn others that a black ice slip and fall exists. Any warning must be one that a reasonable person would recognize and understand. The law recognizes further that it is reasonable for an ordinary person to expect that there are potential safety hazards that should be avoided while walking in New York City.
In slip and fall accident claims, whether the actions of either party in the case were “reasonable” is often what is debated. When a New York City slip and fall accident involves someone falling on ice, local law provides guidance. The New York City Administrative Code gives property owners or managers a specified amount of time to remove ice and snow after inclement weather ends.
New York City Administrative Code Section 16-123 says every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person in charge of any lot or building in New York City is legally required to remove ice and snow from the sidewalks and gutters adjacent to their properties:
- Within 4 hours if snow or freezing rain stops falling between 7 a.m. and 4:49 p.m.
- Within 14 hours if snow or freezing rain stops falling between 5 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
- By 11 a.m. the following day if snow or freezing rain stops falling between 9 p.m. and 6:59 a.m.
In Queens and Staten Island, the property owner or manager must only begin to remove snow and ice before the deadline.
If the ice is frozen too hard to be removed, the property owner or manager is to spread ashes, sand, sawdust or some similar suitable material on the ice and, as soon as the weather permits, thoroughly clean such sidewalks and gutters.
Violating the law can bring a fine of between $10 and $150 on a first offense, $150 to $250 for the second offense within a year, and $250 to $350 for a third offense.
Other New York jurisdictions outside of NYC have similar ordinances, and violating the law leaves the property owner vulnerable to a slip and fall on ice lawsuit.
But regardless of NYC Administrative Code or other ordinances, a property owner remains responsible for the reasonable safety of any legal visitor to their property. Anyone seriously injured in a fall on ice because of the property owner’s negligence should talk to a NYC slip and fall attorney about their rights and legal options.
Common Places Where Slip And Falls On Ice Occur
While NYC Administrative Code refers to ice accumulating on sidewalks and gutters, moisture can freeze on any walking surface and make it slick and hazardous. An icy surface can cause a slip and fall on ice at an apartment complex or other location.
Our attorneys can assist and advise you after a slip and fall accident on ice accumulated on a:
- Walkway / Breezeway
- Parking lot
- Parking garage
- Retail store grounds, such as grocery stores, convenience stores, boutiques, malls, strip shopping centers
- Park, including amusement parks
- Office building grounds
- Job site, including offices, construction sites, warehouses, etc.
- Retirement/nursing home
- Private home
Sometimes it is difficult to see that ice has formed in a parking lot, driveway, alleyway, or other hard surface. So-called “black ice” is transparent ice that forms quickly in very cold temperatures and is camouflaged by the color of the surface underneath it. A person may fail to see it and suffer injuries in a black ice slip and fall accident. Black ice is more likely to form where melted snow or rain runoff does not evaporate, such as in the shade of buildings and trees, in gutters, on covered porches, or in parking garages.
Common Injuries from Slipping and Falling on Ice
When a person slips on ice, they often instinctively reach out to try to catch themselves. Attempting to grab on to structures or other people can lead to twisting that injures soft tissue in the hands, wrists and shoulders. Sometimes a person will hit other objects as they fall, such as a railing on a stairway or a car in a parking lot and suffer blunt-force trauma injuries.
Fractures, including skull fractures, are among the most common slip and fall on ice injuries. In older people, broken hips are common in falls and can cause victims to become bedridden and steadily decline.
Common slip and fall on ice injuries include:
- Concussion and more severe traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Neck and back injuries, including pulled muscle and sprains, ruptured discs, cracked or dislocated vertebrae, and spinal cord injury, which may cause paralysis
- Broken bones, such as in the hands, arms, legs, hips, and ribs
- Soft tissue injuries, such as ankle and wrist sprains, and tears in tendons and ligaments, including torn ACLs (anterior cruciate ligaments) in the knee
- Cuts and abrasions.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident on Ice
If you have been injured by falling on ice that was not properly cleared from a New York City sidewalk, parking lot, or driveway, the law allows you to hold the property owner or manager liable if they:
- Failed to attempt to clear or mitigate the danger of the ice in a timely manner following the end of inclement weather.
- Claim they did not know about the ice but a reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered the ice and corrected the hazardous condition.
Immediately after falling on ice and being injured, if possible, you should:
- Report the accident. Immediately tell someone in charge of the property where you fell about your accident. If you fell at a business, an apartment complex or another commercial establishment, the owner, manager or landlord should make a formal accident report, and you need a copy. If you leave the accident scene for medical treatment, be sure to call back later to get the accident report.
- Document the accident. Don’t rely on just the accident report. Record any property ownership identification you can, such as a business name, the address, or owner/manager’s name. Get contact information for anyone who witnessed your fall, as well as for the property owner or manager. Take time-stamped photos of the spot where you fell. It may be hard to photograph ice. Try to photograph the reflection of a nearby building or parked car shining light in the ice. Get photos of your injury and/or damaged clothing, or accessories.
- Document your injuries. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible demonstrates that you truly were hurt in the fall and provides documentation of your injuries. Save all medical bills as well as receipts for any other expenses associated with your injury. If your injury requires hospitalization or prolonged bed-rest, start a written or video journal of your recovery.
- Contact a slip and fall attorney. An insurance claim for a slip and fall on ice accident will invariably be challenged. The insurance company will seek to blame you and may well try to trick you into saying something that undercuts your claim. If the insurer does make a settlement offer, it will be a calculated amount that is likely less than you truly deserve.
An experienced slip and fall on ice attorney at David Resnick & Associates in New York City can assess your injuries and potential claim for compensation at no charge. If you have a valid claim, we can help you pursue full compensation for your losses and for your pain and suffering.
If You Had a Slip and Fall On Ice, Call Now!
After being injured in a fall on ice, contact David Resnick & Associates, P.C., to speak with a New York City slip and fall accident attorney. Our experienced fall injury attorneys will do everything possible to get the maximum compensation available for your injuries and losses. Phone 212-279-2000 or contact us online today to set up a free initial consultation.