Under New York law, a property owner has a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for invitees and guests. This includes ensuring it is free from slippery conditions and other hazards that could cause slip and fall accidents. Critically, a defendant may be held liable for injuries arising from slippery conditions caused by rain and precipitation if they failed to take adequate safety measures. In such cases, the injured party may be entitled to recover their economic and non-economic damages in a personal injury action.
When is a Property Owner Liable for a Slip and Fall?
Slip and fall cases are often complex, and there can be many variables involved. A property owner may be held liable for negligence if they knew, or should have known, about a dangerous condition and failed to take measures to timely remedy it. They might also be held accountable if they created the condition or failed to warn about a known hazard.
Slip and falls resulting from slippery floor conditions caused by rain or precipitation may occur in the following locations:
- Shopping malls
- Office buildings
- Subway stations
- Bus stops
Significantly, a property owner cannot be held legally liable for the weather. But they can be responsible for slip and fall injuries that arise as a result of their failure to remedy any hazardous conditions they knew the weather might cause on their premises. For instance, if an owner is aware that rainwater can collect in a vestibule and lead to a slip and fall accident, they may have a duty to place appropriate mats on the floor or place a “wet floor” warning sign. They also have a duty to mop up any accumulated rainwater in a timely manner to prevent accidents.
What is the Storm in Progress Defense?
Precipitation can often accumulate in the entryway of a building or vestibule during a snow, ice, or rain storm. New York law recognizes an exception to a property owner’s duty to take reasonable safety measures when a storm is ongoing. Often applied in cases involving sidewalk accidents due to snow or ice buildup, the “Storm in Progress” defense may protect a landlord from having to provide a continuous remedy for precipitation tracked inside the premises.
However, a plaintiff might still be able to hold a property owner responsible for their injuries, despite their assertion of the Storm in Progress defense. An owner or landlord can still be held liable for failing to repair any dangerous conditions that occurred prior to the storm that may have played a role in the accident — such as defects in the flooring, broken tiles, or improper floor mats. Additionally, if a plaintiff can show the storm ended a reasonable amount of time before the accident, and the defendant did not remove or mop the precipitation, the defense will not be applicable.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Slip and fall accidents can result in lifelong and debilitating injuries. It’s essential to have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney by your side who can help ensure you recover your damages. The personal injury attorneys at The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. have more than three decades of experience assisting slip and fall victims in New York to obtain the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. has convenient office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, as well as mobile locations serving Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us today for a consultation.