Did you slip on snow or ice in New York on public or private property that the owner failed to maintain safely? Holding the negligent party responsible can give you closure and possibly cover medical expenses resulting from your injuries.
Keep reading to learn more about typical slip and fall injuries, how to determine liability, and what types of compensation you may receive for your injuries. Then, contact a New York slip and fall lawyer with experience handling these cases and a deep knowledge of local laws.
Common Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents During the Winter
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, work injuries involving snow, sleet, or ice totaled 20,460 in 2017, with 2,890 of those cases occurring in New York. Additionally, the CDC reports that approximately one million Americans suffer injuries from falling on ice and snow each year, with approximately 17,000 fatal falls.
Ice and snow on the ground can reduce friction between your foot and the ground, making you more likely to slip. When you slip, you may land on the ground or directly on an ice layer that can make the ground harder when you fall. According to the Hospital for Special Surgery, common injuries from slipping on ice include:
- Twisted or sprained wrists or ankles
- Bruising or swelling around elbows, knees, or tailbone from improper landing
- Fractures from hard strikes against the ground, including broken arms, hips, or tailbone
- Concussions or traumatic brain injury
Injuries from slipping on ice can be traumatic, sometimes even leading to death. However, victims of slip and fall accidents in New York have some legal recourse in a slip and fall accident case to recover damages for their injuries with help from a knowledgeable slip and fall attorney.
Who Is Liable for Slip and Fall Accidents on Ice or Snow?
Property owners in New York have a responsibility to maintain their property. This includes taking steps to deter snow and ice buildup on their property and sidewalks in front of their property during the winter.
Obviously, people can’t control the weather and prevent it from snowing on their property, but each New Yorker has a responsibility to offer reasonable duty of care in keeping their property free from snow and ice. So, who has a responsibility to visitors or passers-by to maintain a property?
- A homeowner
- A commercial property owner or lessee
- An employer
- A snow removal company
- A municipality or local government department
- A property management company
Depending on the type of property, the responsibility to maintain the property could fall on any of multiple parties, making filing a slip-and-fall accident claim in New York difficult.
Proving Negligence for Your Slip and Fall Liability Claim
You may not be able to file a liability claim just because you slipped and fell on someone else’s property. You must be able to prove negligence by the liable party. Possible examples of negligence include:
- If the property owner created the hazardous condition, such as by leaving a spigot on that froze and created an icy surface on a walkway
- If the property owner knew about the hazardous condition and did nothing to correct the issue
- If the property owner or manager should have had existing knowledge of the hazard because the condition had been present, such as a large crack in the sidewalk that could become hidden under deep snow
A property owner or manager must make reasonable attempts to address hazards on their property, meaning that expectations for safety must also be within reason. Shoveling snow and salting sidewalks can keep walkways open for use but can’t always prevent a buildup of ice or snow as the weather continues (the “storm in progress” doctrine).
In order to build your case, you will need to prove that the property owner or manager was negligent in removing snow and ice from their property, failed to place the appropriate warning signs about hazards, or potentially created the hazard that caused your injury. An experienced New York slip-and-fall lawyer can help you gather evidence against the liable party.
Seeking Compensation for Slip and Fall Injuries During the Winter
In New York, you may seek economic damages for your slip and fall injuries, including medical bills, transportation costs to get to appointments, physical therapy, and lost wages from time off work. You may also seek non-economic damages for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of quality of life.
In cases of wrongful death due to slipping on snow or ice, only a representative of the decedent’s estate can file the wrongful death claim to bring it before the courts. Damages in a wrongful death case may include medical expenses, final expenses for the funeral and burial, and pain and suffering the decedent experienced before passing.
Unlike in other states, family members may not file a wrongful death case in New York and cannot pursue damages for their own pain and suffering or loss of companionship. If you lost a loved one in a slip and fall case due to ice or snow buildup on someone’s property, contact an experienced personal injury law firm.
Finding the Right Personal Injury Law Firm and Slip and Fall Lawyer in New York City
When searching through New York City’s hundreds of personal injury firms and thousands of slip-and-fall lawyers, how do you know who to choose? Look for these important factors when considering which law firm to choose:
- Detailed five-star reviews or testimonials describing each attorney’s dedication to their cases
- Detailed case results on each firm’s website describing cases won and settlement amounts
- Separate practice area pages demonstrating knowledge in different personal injury practice areas (car accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, etc.)
- Years in practice and office founding date