Clearing snow and ice: Can I face a premises liability claim?

| Feb 17, 2021 | Premises Liability Defense |

So far in 2021, the New York City winter has been especially harsh. Not a week seems to go by without there being some form of inclement weather from freezing rain to accumulating snow. Combined with low temperatures, this puts all the pieces in place for the sidewalks and streets to be dangerously slippery. It is unfortunate that people will slip and fall in these circumstances, suffering injuries. In some cases, these injuries are serious with broken bones, head trauma and more. If the incident happens on someone’s property, the injured party and his or her family might think about filing a premises liability claim.

What are the rules for snow removal in New York?

This is frequently viewed from the perspective of the injured person, but the property owner has rights. Lodging a strong defense against these claims can avoid a costly payout. There are rules for clearing snow and if it is not done in a certain time frame, the property owner could be vulnerable to a legal filing. The time at which the snow stops falling is key. If it stops from 7 a.m. to 4:49 p.m., it must be cleared within four hours. If it stops between 5:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m., it must be cleared within 14 hours. If it stops between 9:00 p.m. and 6:59 a.m., it must be cleared by 11 a.m. the following day.

It is also important to remember that people are not allowed to push the snow into the street, nor put into a crosswalk. Those who have a fire hydrant in front of their property must ensure that it is cleared. In general, people are expected to create a path of approximately four feet on the sidewalk. If the property has a pedestrian ramp or crosswalk in front of it, these must be cleared. Failure to adhere to these rules can result in various fines from the city, but that is secondary to a lawsuit after a slip and fall.

Having legal protection is imperative if sued for premises liability

Provided the property owner adheres to the rules for clearing snow from their property, they are likely shielded from this type of legal filing. Still, an injured person or a person who claims to have been injured but was not could try to file a claim. Having legal assistance from the start can avoid the challenges that arise in these types of claims. Whether it is due to a slip and fall because of snow, defects on the property or another issue, a firm that is experienced in premises liability defense may be able to help.