Winter in New York City is beautiful, yet inclement weather can bring a higher risk of accidents. Rain, sleet, and snow frequently lead to slips and falls. Sometimes these falls are minor, but in other cases they can cause serious injury.
When is a fall just an accident, and when can it be attributed to someone else’s negligence? Here are several ways to understand the difference.
Winter Fall Injuries and How Liability Works
In personal injury cases, the term “slip and fall” is used when an individual is injured by falling on another’s property. These cases are tried as premises liability suits. Under certain circumstances, the property owner may be held liable for a plaintiff’s personal injuries.
Due to the high average winter precipitation in New York City, slip and fall injuries are common in colder months. These accidents can result in every kind of injury, from cuts and scrapes to serious problems like nerve damage and head injuries.
Some situations that may result in premises liability cases include the following:
- Untreated sidewalks, stairs, or parking areas in snowy or icy weather
- Icicles hanging from awnings that can fall and injure someone
- Broken floor tiles
- Change in flooring level without posted notice
- Inadequate lighting
- Ripped carpet
- Water left on a floor
If you slip or trip on someone else’s property, you must be able to prove the property owner’s negligence, and you must have sustained an injury in order to file suit. Also, you must file within the time-sensitive statute of limitations to be able to receive damages. An experienced New York personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you on the specifics of your case.
To prove the accident occurred due to a property owner’s negligence, at least one of the following statements must be true:
- The property owner knew the hazard existed but did not fix it
- The property owner knowingly created the hazard
- The property owner had ample time to discover and correct the hazard, but failed to fix it
Depending on where your accident occurred, the liability for a personal injury claim will take different forms. Here are several examples to consider.
- If your accident occurred on commercial property, the business owner or employee must have negligently created or caused the conditions for the accident. Depending on the circumstances, a franchise or other entity may be held legally responsible in a commercial property accident.
- If your accident occurred on residential property, the landlord or homeowners may be held responsible for a personal injury claim. If the landlord or homeowner failed to correct a hazardous problem that was under his or her control, your claim may hold up in court.
- If your accident occurred on government property, it is highly likely that measures are already in place to protect the government entity from being held liable for your injuries. That being said, the best thing you can do to learn your options it to consult with a knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer.
Winter Slip and Falls – Staying Safe and Protecting Your Rights
This winter, take precautions against slips and falls by being alert and aware while walking the city streets. Wear shoes with good traction and thoroughly dry them once inside a building. Being safety-conscious when the weather turns bad may prevent you from serious injury and alert you to a hazard before you slip and fall.
However, sometimes accidents can happen despite your best efforts. If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property and you are dealing with injuries, you may qualify for a premises liability claim. Act fast to talk to a skilled personal injury attorney, who can advise you on the viability of your case before the filing time limit runs out.