Snow and ice are par for the course during the cold New York winters. Property owners — both commercial and residential — are responsible for the safety of guests, customers, repair and maintenance workers, delivery people and others who visit their properties. Those who disregard that responsibility might have to face premises liability claims that could turn out to be costly.
Although slip-and-fall accidents occur throughout the year, the presence of hazards involving snow and ice makes this time of the year extra dangerous. Safety authorities say ice is the most significant culprit because it is often invisible. It is not unusual to see somebody jumping out of a car or rushing across a parking lot without thinking about the risk of black ice.
Property owners who fail to take reasonable steps to clear away snow and ice could be sued by anyone who is injured in a slip-and-fall accident on their premises. However, pedestrians must take some responsibility for their own safety. They are advised to avoid rushing over potentially hazardous areas, especially stairs, curbs and other uneven surfaces. Furthermore, they must always be on the lookout for slippery ice patches and avoid them if possible.
Victims of slip-and-fall accidents in New York might have grounds to pursue claims for financial relief. However, proving negligence on the part of a property owner can be challenging. For that reason, people in such situations usually seek the support and guidance of an experienced premises liability attorney who can first assess the viability of a lawsuit, and advocate for a client who elects to pursue economic and noneconomic damage recovery.