As the vast majority of New York, including the Mid-Hudson Valley region,
digs out after a major snowstorm, there is an increased risk of injuries
caused by slip and fall accidents on accumulated snow and ice.
This past week our experienced slip and fall attorneys have discussed many
of the common issues in these premises liability cases, including what
you need to know to prove your case. We have discussed
what notice is and how to prove it. We also discussed what the elements are in a slip and fall case, and
what the duty owed by a land owner, possessor, or maintainer is to an entrant. Yesterday,
we discussed some
common defenses used by defendants and how to defeat them.
Our post today regards several special considerations in slip and fall
cases. The first issue we would like to discuss relates to expert witnesses.
Many slip and fall accidents require an engineering expert or a forensic
meteorologist to help prove your case—sometimes both. An engineering
expert is used to discuss unique features in the property that may contribute
to the dangerous condition. For instance, low-laying areas, depressions,
or downward slopes may accumulate melted snow-water which could refreeze
to ice. Further, an engineering expert can be used to opine as to whether
there were violations of building codes and safe engineering practices.
A forensic meteorologist is another type of expert used to help pinpoint
when a snowstorm has ended and when a land owner, possessor, or maintainer
must begin his or her cleanup process. Further, a forensic meteorologist
is also important to address thaw and refreeze cycles and when notice
for newly formed ice begins. If this newly formed ice causes you
Newburgh slip and fall accident, it could result in liability.
Thus, another special issue is the thaw and refreeze process. Not only
is a land owner, possessor, or maintainer liable for clearing precipitation,
but he or she is also liable for clearing any accumulated after the initial
precipitation. This includes from melted snow which forms ice. Even when
temperatures are below freezing, snow in direct sunlight will melt as
low as at 23 degrees. This will result in the melted snow-water to be
present on surfaces. When the sun goes down, or the temperature goes below
23 degrees, the melted snow-water will freeze to ice. This creates a new
hazard which most land owners, possessor, or maintainers may not expect
when the temperature is below freezing.
Another issue is when snow is tracked into stores or other indoor establishments.
The snow itself creates a slippery surface in aisles and areas of high-traffic
in stores. But it also can result in the snow melting and creating a slipping
hazard due to water. A store and business owner can also be liable for
melted snow on the floor which results in a slip and fall just as much
as if the patron fell outside on the actual snow.
Our slip and fall attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious personal injury accidents,
particularly throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie,
and Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.