Enduring cold and inclement weather during the winter is a basic part of living in New York City and Long Island. While snow and ice are not as prevalent in New York as it is for people in other regions across the United States, it still carries with it various risks of injuries and loss of life. People frequently categorize winter accidents with drivers whose vehicles skid and cause a crash. However, a troubling number of people are hurt or lose their lives when they slip and fall on ice. This should not simply be chalked up as a hazard of living in areas where the seasons change. Residential property owners, businesses and municipalities are responsible for cleaning and clearing slippery spots. If a person falls, it is important to understand the law and holding those responsible accountable for their failures.
Recent storm and cold spell shows danger for people as they head out
There may be a benefit to snowy weather with winter activities like sledding and building snowmen with children. However, people need to get back and forth to work, to the store and run various errands. This can turn the brief respite into a dangerous nuisance. A recent storm that blanketed the Northeast with snow turned perilous when the snow was followed by a deep freeze in which the temperatures were in the 20s and below. This resulted in wet spots turning to ice and making it a challenge for pedestrians to walk safely. Projections suggest that the weather will become warmer and melt what is left behind. Until then, slipping and falling will be a worrisome issue. Often, there is a lack of knowledge as to what the rules are for clearing ice and snow and making it safe for people to walk. This could be a fundamental aspect of a possible case after a person was hurt after a fall.
Certain legal responsibilities are in place to clear snow and ice
There are rules in place for clearing ice and snow in New York. This applies to owners, renters, tenants, occupants or anyone who is overseeing an area. The time when the snow stops dictates when the cleanup must be done. If the snow stopped from 7 a.m. to 4:49 p.m. the owner has four hours to clear it. If it stopped from 5 p.m. to 8:59 p.m., there are 14 hours to clear it. If it stopped from 9 p.m. to 6:59 a.m., it must be cleared by 11 a.m. the following day. Those who fail to adhere to the rules can be fined. The number of offenses will dictate how much the fines will cost. This is secondary to the possible ramifications if a person slips, falls and is injured because of a failure to live up to the responsibilities for clearing ice and snow.
Long-term problems can result from a slip and fall accident
While it might not seem to be a serious as an auto accident, a construction accident or other common ways in which people are unexpectedly injured or killed, a slip and fall can be just as bad or worse. For example, if a person slips on ice and hits his or her head on the hard ground, it can cause traumatic brain injury. Broken bones, cuts, torn muscles and internal injuries can also come about. This can be costly in myriad ways. Those who have been hurt or lost a loved one need to be cognizant of the viability of a premises liability case after slipping on ice or snow. The evidence must be gathered, the area assessed, witnesses spoken to and reconstructions done. To be fully protected, it is imperative to know the law for cleaning sidewalks and other areas of a property and taking the necessary initiative to move forward. Having advice is critical from the start.