Slip And Fall Accidents From Snow And Ice In New York

By Michael Joseph on February 06, 2013

With a winter storm on the way it is an excellent time to review the obligation of property owners to maintain a safe, clean and non-slippery means of ingress and egress from their property. Where a property owner fails to comply with their legal obligations, our White Plains personal injury lawyers who handle slip and fall accidents are ready to help.

Our principal office is located in White Plains, NY and like most other local municipalities that have downtown shopping districts, including Yonkers, New Rochelle, Scarsdale it has enacted an ordinance, Municipal Code of the City of White Plains, Title VII, Chapter 7-2-1, which requires owners or occupants to “clean and keep free from snow, ice, dirt and debris or other foreign matter, the sidewalk in front of or adjoining said lot or premises.”

The New York Court of Appeals has long held that even with such an ordinance a property owner will not be liable in tort for injuries sustained by a pedestrian who slips and falls on a natural accumulation of snow or ice on that sidewalk. Lee v. Ortiz, 249 N.Y. 613; 164 N.E. 604; 1928 (1928). Only if there is evidence that the owner’s attempts at snow removal made the sidewalk more hazardous is the owner exposed to tort. Palmer v. City of New York, 287 A.D.2d 553; 731 N.Y.S.2d 483; (2nd Dep’t 2001).

However, and this is important for those injured entering or leaving a property open to the public, New York State’s common law does place an affirmative non-delegable duty on the property owner to provide a means of safe ingress and egress if the owner knows that members of the general public will be invited onto the premises. Arabian v. Benenson, 284 A.D.2d 422, 726 N.Y.S.2d 447 (2d Dept. 2001). Therefore, property owners who know that their property is open to the public must clean the snow and ice and do whatever is necessary to make the entry and exit from the property safe.

Many of us will have to make our way once the snow arrives tomorrow and for those who own property, please do not forget your obligation and duty to remove snow and ice and provide a safe means of entry and exit from your property. And for those injured as a result of a slippery entry or exit to or from a property, it is important for you to know your rights. Consultations are always free.

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