Ice and snow present dangers to just about everyone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 20,000 workplace injuries in 2017 due primarily to snow and ice. This number does not include individuals who were hurt in car crashes caused by winter conditions or private individuals on foot around town. One of the primary dangers of snow and ice is slip and fall injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitals admit more than 800,000 patients for accidental fall injuries every year. While the dangers of winter slip and fall accidents are clear, it may need to be clarified whose job it is to prevent them from happening.
Private Property Owners Have a Responsibility to Clear Sidewalks
If you own a home or business in western New York, be aware that most cities’ codes require you to clear a path along any sidewalk adjacent to your property when snow and ice are present. Moreover, if any adjoining gutter or drain is present, you must also keep these free and clear from snow accumulation.
If the snow or ice is too difficult to remove, you still have a legal duty to help prevent slip and fall accidents. You must lay down ashes, sawdust, or some other material that can give pedestrians traction on the snow and ice. You must then remove the snow or ice as soon as you are physically able to do so.
In some areas of western New York, city code requires that snow and ice removal or throwing down ashes, sawdust, or similar substances occur before 9:00 a.m. after a snow or ice storm. Check your city’s requirements in advance of winter weather.
Cities’ Responsibility for Snow and Ice Removal
Cities have a responsibility to help prevent a winter slip and fall. First, city workers must clear the streets promptly. Any sidewalks that adjoin city property are usually the city’s responsibility to clean, too.
Beyond this, city employees may be required to clean sidewalks in front of private property where the private property owner has failed to do so. If city workers clear such sidewalks, then the property owner can be responsible for reimbursing the city for the cost of the work.
Private Property Owners Are Legally Responsible for Injuries Caused by Uncleared Walkways
If a property owner does not clear their adjacent sidewalks, they are legally liable for any slip and fall injuries that occur on their sidewalks. This liability exists even if the city fails to clear the sidewalk itself.
Speak to an Experienced New York Slip and Fall Attorney
If you or a loved one have suffered any injury in a winter slip and fall accident, contact the Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC immediately.
When you attend your free case evaluation, we will discuss the facts of your slip and fall injury and inform you of your legal rights. Our attorneys can provide exceptional, personalized, and dedicated legal representation if you decide to move forward with a lawsuit.