Who Is At Fault When I Slip and Fall on the Ice?

During the winter season, slip-and-fall accidents on ice or snow are a common occurrence in New York and across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 million Americans are injured every year due to falling on ice and snow. In New York State, property owners have a duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. This involves periodic property inspection and the removal of snow and ice to reduce the risk of slips, falls, and injuries.

If you were injured in a winter weather-related slip-and-fall accident on another person's property, you may be entitled to hold the property owner liable and recover damages for your injuries. At the Law Office of Steven R. Smith, I have the skills, expertise, and resources to assist, guide, and represent clients in their slip-and-fall accident cases. As a skilled New York State personal injury attorney, I will review every detail of your unique situation, explore your available options to recover damages, and help you seek fair financial compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other possible damages.

My firm – the Law Office of Steven R. Smith – is proud to serve slip-and-fall accident victims in New York and Long Island, including Hempstead, Westbury, Mineola, and New Hyde Park.

What Is Premises Liability?

In New York State, property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises maintained to prevent injury to guests and visitors. "Premises liability" is a legal term used to describe a situation in which a person sustains an injury or becomes hurt on another person's property as a result of the unsafe or defective conditions of the property.

The purpose of a premises liability claim is to hold the property owner or business owner responsible for any injuries or damages resulting from an accident caused by the defective, unsafe, or dangerous condition of the property. Some common accidents that may occur and lead to premises liability claims in New York include:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Inadequate property maintenance
  • Dog bites and other animal attacks
  • Ceiling collapse
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Negligent security leading to injury or assault
  • Defective or broken staircases
  • Porch collapses
  • Staircase accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Water leaks or flooding
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Electrocutions
  • Fire safety and building code violations
  • Chemicals or toxic fumes
  • Accidents involving fire
  • Supermarket accidents
  • Garage door accidents

Also, the accumulation of snow and ice during winter may cause pedestrians or guests to slip and fall. An experienced attorney can evaluate your unique circumstances and enlighten you about the property owner's duty of care regarding winter weather hazards.

Winter Weather Hazards and Duty of Care

Everyone, including property owners, business owners, government entities, and members of the public, has a duty of care to prevent or mitigate winter weather-related slip-and-fall accidents. 

This legal duty of care includes anticipating the dangers posed by snow and ice, carrying out a periodic property inspection, removing the snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time, and ultimately keeping your premises in a reasonably safe condition.

The property owner, business owner, or government entity may contract with plow companies providing snow and ice removal services to help keep their sidewalks, parking lots, and other public areas clear for pedestrians.

In addition, members of the general public have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care when walking in icy or snowy areas. Failure to exercise reasonable care can potentially affect your ability to recover damages after a slip-and-fall accident due to a winter weather hazard.

Determining Liability

When a slip-and-fall accident occurs, any of the following persons or entities may be held liable:

Property Owner/Homeowner: The property owner or homeowner may be held responsible for winter weather-related slip-and-fall accidents that occur on their premises for failure to remove or warn visitors about the icy or slippery condition of the property.

Business Owner: A store owner may be held responsible for the slippery or dangerous conditions on the business's premises caused by the snow or ice which led to the slip-and-fall accident or injuries.

Government Entity: Also, victims may hold a municipal agency or government entity liable if the accident or injuries occurred in a winter weather-related slip-and-fall accident on public property.

Your Own Carelessness: However, if your lack of attention, oversight, or negligence was a contributing factor to the winter weather-related accident, the New York State court may shift the blame onto your own carelessness.

A knowledgeable premises liability attorney can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and vigorous representation you need to prove fault and determine liability in your winter weather-related slip-and-fall accident case.

Comparative Negligence in New York

New York operates using the "pure comparative negligence" rule. According to principle, in an action to seek damages for personal injury (slip and fall), the contributory negligence of one party should not bar their ability to recover damages. However, the total amount of compensation they may recover will be reduced by their fault degree.

For example, if the judge awarded total damages of $40,000 against the negligent party but found that you were 20% liable for the slip-and-fall accident, your total compensation will be reduced by $8,000. You will only be able to recover $32,000. Under New York State's pure comparative negligence rule, you will still be allowed to recover damages even if you were up to 99% responsible for the slip-and-fall accident.

How the Law Office of Steven R. Smith Can Help

Being injured in a slip-and-fall accident on the ice or snow can be a difficult and emotional experience. Whether you sustained minor or serious injuries, proving negligence, establishing liability, and recovering damages for your injuries may present different challenges. Therefore, you need to act quickly and retain a skilled personal injury attorney to help protect your rights and pursue your rightful compensation.

At the Law Office of Steven R. Smith, I have devoted my career to providing outstanding legal services and advocating for the rights of slip-and-fall accident victims and their loved ones. As your attorney, I can review and investigate all of the facts of your case thoroughly, help determine the at-fault party, and enlighten you about your available options to pursue damages. Using my extensive legal understanding, I will fight diligently to represent your best interests and help negotiate a fair settlement with the insurer. Having me on your side can mean a big difference in your premises liability claims.

Contact my firm – the Law Office of Steven R. Smith – today to schedule a simple consultation with an experienced slip-and-fall accident attorney. I can offer you the experienced legal guidance and vigorous representation you need in your winter weather-related slip-and-fall accident case. My firm proudly represents clients across New York and Long Island, including Hempstead, Westbury, Mineola, and New Hyde Park.


Recent Posts