Property Owners Duty of Care for Ice and Snow Hazards

As temperatures drop in New York City and snow and rain starts to fall, the number of slip and fall accidents increase. If you sustain serious injuries after slipping on snow or ice while shopping at a retail store, restaurant, or private home, you might be wondering if you can hold the property owner legally liable for your injuries. In this blog, our New York City personal injury lawyers discuss property owner’s duty of care in preventing snow and ice hazards.

Slip and fall accidents typically occur on sidewalks or parking lots outside of the business. As a property or business owner, they are required to exercise reasonable care in maintaining a safe area. If you slipped on ice on the sidewalk or parking lot of a business, ask yourself these questions:

  • Did the owner have regularly scheduled snowplow or ice removal services?
  • Was the owner conducting regular inspections of the property to make sure it was safe for customers and guests?
  • Did the owner reasonably anticipate the possibility of these hazards and act accordingly?

While property owners are expected to maintain their property, customers, and other guests are also expected to have exercised a reasonable duty of care when walking in an area they know or could reasonably expect to be icy. For example, if you slipped and fell while running through a parking lot covered in ice and snow, your inability to exercise reasonable care could mean a reduction in compensation.

Another factor to consider before filing a slip and fall injury case caused by snow or ice is the “natural accumulation rule” and “reasonableness” considerations. The natural accumulation rule is a rule some states use to relieve property owners from liability in a slip and fall case. If they had taken steps to remove the ice or snow hazards, but the injury was caused by a natural accumulation of snow or ice in the area, they could be held less liable for the person’s injury. The law recognizes that it is unreasonable to expect a property owner to constantly plow or remove ice from an area. The “reasonableness rule” acknowledges that it is reasonable for a person to expect to encounter ice on a sidewalk in New York City during winter, but perhaps not as reasonable for someone to expect as much ice or snow in a southern state such as California or Arizona.

Compensation for Your Injuries

If your slip and fall injury could have been prevented had the owner taken reasonable care to maintain their property, you could recover compensation for your injuries. Filing a lawsuit against a larger corporation or other business can feel intimidating, but with a skilled New York City personal injury attorney in your corner, you can feel confident in the success of your case. At Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP, we can help you gather the documents, evidence, and witness testimony you need to prove your case.

Read more about premises liability law or contact our offices to discuss the details of your case.