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Who’s Responsible for Snow & Ice Slip and Falls?


Winter weather in New York can be treacherous. Snow, ice, sleet, and hail can quickly accumulate on sidewalks, in parking lots, and on walkways to create dangerous conditions leading to slip and fall accidents. Property owners may be liable for injuries you sustain in a slip and fall on their premises if they fail to remedy the hazardous conditions caused by a snow or ice within a reasonable amount of time.   

NYC’s Sidewalk Law

In New York City, snow removal and shoveling responsibilities fall on home and building owners. By law, they must clear the sidewalk within a certain amount of time once the snow stops falling, or face a fine — if the snow stops during the day, owners generally have four hours to shovel the sidewalk abutting their property. A time frame of fourteen hours is imposed for removal of snow, ice, or dirt when the storm stops between 5 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. Snow that falls overnight between 9 p.m. and 6:59 a.m. must be removed from the sidewalk by 11 a.m. the next day.  

Unless the property is owned and maintained by the City of New York, NYC Administrative Code generally exempts the City from liability for slip and falls when they occur on a sidewalk abutting a large apartment building or a business. In these cases, a property manager, landlord, or building owner may be held accountable if their negligence in failing to remove snow or ice caused your injuries. However, under the “Sidewalk Law,” the City might still be a liable party if the slip and fall happened on the sidewalk in front of a one, two, or three-family home occupied by the owner. 

Towns and villages on Long Island typically have their own regulations concerning responsibility for snow and ice removal.

Parking Lots

Parking lots can be dangerous during and after a snowstorm. Stores, property owners or managers, and landlords have a reasonable duty of care to ensure that a parking lot on their property is safe at all times. Under New York’s storm in progress doctrine, property owners usually won’t be held liable if they failed to remove snow while a storm is ongoing. However, they are still obligated to protect pedestrians who use the parking lot from foreseeable dangers — including injuries caused by ice and snow.

If snow or ice is not cleared within a reasonable amount of time following a storm, the party responsible for maintaining the parking lot may be held liable for negligence in the event of a slip and fall accident.

Snow and Ice Slip and Fall Injuries

Injuries that can result from a slip and fall due to icy winter weather conditions can be severe and cause significant limitations in your daily life and activities. They might also require you to take time off from work. Snow and ice slip and fall injuries can include:

  • Broken bones
  • Fractures
  • Bruises
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Broken teeth
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis
  • Concussion
  • Traumatic brain injury

In some cases, slip and falls can require extensive surgeries and hospitalization. Treatment for snow and ice slip and falls may require emergency care, ongoing physical therapy, office visits, acupuncture, EMG-NCV testing, MRIs, X-rays, and any other course of treatment your doctor recommends.

Filing a Personal Injury Action for Snow and Ice Slip and Falls

If you’ve sustained injuries due to a property owner’s negligence in failing to remove snow or ice, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your damages in a personal injury action for premises liability.

By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover economic damages for unreimbursed medical costs, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs related to prescriptions and medical care. You may also be entitled to recover compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium.

Contact a New York Slip and Fall Attorney

If you suffered injuries in a New York snow or ice slip and fall due to another’s negligence, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. There are strict statutes of limitation to file a personal injury action for premises liability cases and much shorter ones if a municipality is a named party. 

The Dearie Law Firm, P.C. can help obtain you the maximum compensation you deserve for your slip and fall 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, Rockland County, Nassau County, and Suffolk County. Contact us for a consultation.