During the winter months, Kingston streets and roads can quickly become
covered in mounds of snow, slush, and ice. Slippery sidewalks, walkways,
and parking lots where pedestrians frequently traverse can easily create
perilous situations conducive to a
slip and fall accident. If you’ve fallen down on ice and seriously injured yourself, the
first question you may be asking is- who is liable for your injuries?
If you slipped and fell in the parking lot of a commercial establishment,
the liable party could be the business owner. If you injured yourself
on a public sidewalk, the responsible party could be a government entity.
If you hurt yourself while on someone’s private property, the property
owner or landlord could be liable for your injuries. Seeking the assistance
of an experienced Kingston premise liability attorney will help you determine
the appropriate parties to your slip and fall claim.
Our experienced Kingston slip and fall attorneys have handled many winter weather-related slip and fall accidents resulting
from ice and snow. Establishing premise liability requires proving that
the party breached his or her duty of care to keep the premises safe from
harm. New York law requires property owners to exercise “reasonable
care” under the circumstances.
Failing to act reasonably under the circumstances is a breach of duty.
If this breach is the actual and proximate cause of your injuries, you
may have a claim of negligence against the property owner in the maintenance
of his or her property. In the case of slip and fall accidents that result
from the presence of snow or ice, a property owner may be deemed negligent
if failing to clear the premises from snow or ice results in harm to another person.
So when do property owners have the duty to remove snow and ice from their
property? Slip and fall accidents due to ice and snow can be distinguished
from other slip and fall cases by a legal doctrine known as the “storm
in progress doctrine.” New York courts will not attach liability
to property and landowners for slip and fall accidents that occur on their
property or adjacent sidewalks while a storm is in progress.
However, after the storm has passed, snow and ice must be cleared within
a reasonable amount of time. A lull or break in a winter storm does not
amount to a cessation of the storm, which would impose such a duty.
Factors to consider when ascertaining the dangerous condition of the premises
include when the cessation of the storm occurred, how much snow or ice
was on the ground, how many degrees it was outside, and how long the snow
and ice condition existed.
Proving liability requires a showing that the property owner had actual
or constructive notice of the hazardous condition, and had a reasonable
opportunity to act. A person is put on actual notice when they are actually
aware of the condition. For example, they perceive it with their senses
or are notified by a third party.
A person has constructive notice when they should have known about the
hazardous condition, as would another reasonably prudent property owner.
Property owners are considered to have constructive notice of dangerous
conditions following a winter snowstorm, because they should know about
such conditions caused by the storm.
Consulting an experienced Kingston premise liability attorney immediately
is critical in obtaining the compensation you deserve. Injuries stemming
from falling on slush and ice can be very serious, if not deadly. Broken
bones and fractures are not the worst of possibilities. Injuries to the
back, neck, hip, spinal cord and even the brain can alter your life forever.