Snow, Ice and the Accidents They Cause

Winter weather can cause a variety of accidents resulting in personal injuries. Due to the significant number of pedestrians in New York City and the surrounding boroughs, slip and fall accidents are common when there is snow and ice on the sidewalks. Many people incorrectly assume it was their fault or that they were simply being clumsy. However, it is possible your injury resulting from a fall on the ice is due to the negligence of another party.

Who may be liable for your fall on the ice?

Pursuant to NYC Administrative Code Section 16-123, “[e]very owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or other person, having charge of any building or lot of ground in the city, abutting upon any street where the sidewalk is paved” can be liable for not removing snow within a few hours after the snow ceases to fall. Additionally, ADC 7-210 requires most owners of real property abutting any sidewalks to maintain such sidewalks in a “reasonably safe condition,” and failure to do so imposes liability for your injuries upon the property owner. Thus, if a building owner or other named party fails to properly maintain their sidewalk and timely remove ice and snow, they may be liable for your injuries that result when you fall on their premises.

How can another party’s negligence cause your injuries?

When snow and ice are involved, there are several forms of negligence that can cause an injury, including:

  • Failure to properly remove snow and ice
  • Failure to use adequate salt, sand, sawdust, or other products to melt the ice and prevent slipping
  • Failure to remove ice from stairs or railings
  • Failure to timely remove snow and allowing it to accumulate for too long
  • Failure to remove icicles

What types of injuries commonly result from snow and ice accidents?

Winter weather can cause vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents. Examples of common injuries resulting from snow and ice are:

  • Broken bones, especially to knees, hips, ankles, shoulders, elbows and wrists
  • Back injuries, including damage to the spinal cord or paralysis
  • Head injuries, including brain injuries
  • Strains and sprains to muscles
  • Torn rotator cuffs in shoulders
  • Death

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