The January snowstorms that swept through the central and northeast states left an inevitable aftermath of ice, snow, and other hazards. Those hazards raise the risk for falling on ice. If you are injured in a fall and incur medical expenses and other costs as a result, you may have an opportunity to recover compensation for your injuries from the property owners or businesses that failed to make their premises safe.
The negligence and accident attorneys at Manhattan’s Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green have prepared this guide to help you determine whether you can sue to recover compensation for your injuries for falling on ice.
Did you collect and preserve the evidence of the fall and your injuries
Every slip and fall accident case turns on the facts and evidence surrounding the fall and any resulting injuries. If you do slip and fall on ice, you can improve your chances of your recovering compensation for your injuries if you document all of the details of the accident. Take photographs of the ice that you fell on. Note the time of day and the weather and lighting conditions. Get contact information from any witnesses who saw you fall. Seek medical assistance immediately if you believe you are injured, and save all medical bills and receipts for treatment of your injuries.
Why were you on the property at the time of the accident
If you were invited onto the premises or the owner consented to your presence on the property, the owner bears a greater burden to clear snow and ice and to take reasonable precautions to prevent foreseeable falls. On the other hand, if you were trespassing, the owner has no implied promises to you to take those reasonable precautions.
Did you fall on private, commercial, or government property
Falls on private or commercial property are treated differently than falls on government property. Federal, state, and local government entities frequently claim sovereign immunity as a defense to liability. Where that defense is not available, government entities often have special procedures for injury lawsuits, including very short notice requirements and statutes of limitations. If you fall on ice or snow and are injured on a government-owned property, you should retain legal counsel and start any legal actions as quickly as is possible in order to avoid missing any short deadlines.
What efforts did the owners make to clear ice and snow
Although property owners are generally charged with taking reasonable precautions to keep their premises safe, in New York State a private property owner has no obligation to clear snow that naturally accumulates on sidewalks that are adjacent to property. There are, however, several exceptions to this rule. Many municipalities, including the City of New York, have ordinances that impose tort liability on a property owner that fails to clear snow and ice from abutting walkways. Further, if the owner’s efforts to remove snow and ice only make the situation worse, that owner may be liable for your injuries if you fall on snow or ice on the property.
Do you bear any responsibility for your injuries
Under New York State law, slip and fall lawsuits are analyzed according to a pure comparative negligence standard. If you are injured in a fall on snow or ice, your own negligence will not completely prevent you from recovering damages for your injuries, but your damages award will be reduced in proportion to your own negligence. If you were running or wearing shoes that were inappropriate for the conditions, for example, those actions may be held up as evidence of your own responsibility for falling on snow or ice.
What damages can you recover
If a property owner’s negligence is deemed to be the proximate cause of your injuries, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical costs and expenses, costs of future medical care and rehabilitation therapy, your lost wages if you are unable to work while recuperating, and the cost of personal property that was damaged or lost in the fall. Other damages may be available as a function of the specific facts of your case.
Call Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, P.C. if you have been injured as a result of falling on snow or ice
Every situation in which a person suffers injuries as a result of a fall on snow or ice is specific to its facts. For a specific answer to the question of whether you can sue after you have suffered an injury after falling on ice in New York, including Manhattan, the Bronx, Long Island, and Brooklyn, please call our Manhattan offices to speak directly with one of our negligence and accident attorneys.