Our Experienced Slip and Fall Accident Attorneys Explain The Basics Of What You Need To Know If You Were Injured In A Slip and Fall Accident On Snow and Ice
Winter can be uncertain. Some years, winter snow starts early and continues for months. Other years, the weather can be mild, and without any snow or ice at all.
When it does snow, however, the law requires that property owners take appropriate measures to keep their property “reasonably safe”. When they fail to do so, owners of property may be held responsible for injuries that result.
When Is An Owner Required To Clear Snow and Ice?
An owner’s obligation to clear snow and ice does not begin until after it stops snowing. As a result, an owner is generally not responsible if it was actually snowing when the fall occurred. This is known as the “storm in progress” doctrine. As a result, if you fell while it was snowing, your case will probably be dismissed under this doctrine.
Once it has stopped snowing, however, an owner is required to clear snow and ice within a “reasonable period of time”. Whether the time taken is “reasonable” depends on several factors. These include: the location of the fall; the amount of people you might expect to be walking in the area; the time of the day or night that it stopped snowing; as well as other issues that might make delay dangerous. If the accident happened in New York City, the Administrative Code provides that an owner can usually wait up to 4 hours after it stops snowing before beginning to clear snow.
Further, when an owner does clear snow and ice, it must be done properly. If the work is done in a careless manner, then the owner may be responsible for “negligently” clearing the snow and ice.
How do you Prove (and win) a Snow and Ice Slip and Fall Accident Case?
Every case involving a slip and fall accident on snow and ice is different. As a result, the proof needed, depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Ultimately, you will need to prove that the property owner was negligent for waiting too long to clear the snow and ice that you fell on. You can also prove your case by establishing that although the property owner did clear some snow, this was done negligently and that you fell on uncleared snow or ice. Further, and at times, a property owner can make a condition worse by negligently clearing it. This can happen if snow is removed, but the ice underneath is not addressed with rock salt, or some other type of substance. When this happens, the walkway can be made much more slippery and dangerous.
If you were involved in a slip fall accident on snow or ice, take pictures or video of the scene. Further, try to identify any witnesses who may have seen the fall. Lastly, look around and see if there are any video surveillance cameras that may have captured your fall.
Your conduct is also important in a slip and fall accident case. In fact, under the rules of comparative negligence, your award will be reduced by your percentage of fault. If you are found 50% at fault because you were careless when the accident happened, for example, your award will be reduced by 50%.
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If you were injured in a slip and fall accident on snow or ice, contact our experienced slip and fall accident lawyers by email or calling (800) 762-9300 for a free consultation. You can also simply fill out one of our case intake forms and we will have one of our attorneys get right back to you.
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