Snow and Ice Accidents
During the winter season in New York and New Jersey, snow and ice may present a serious slip and fall hazard. There are many situations in which a property owner will be liable for injuries suffered in falls caused by slipping on snow or ice. If you have been injured in an accident involving ice or snow on someone else’s property, contact Bergen County slip and fall attorney Howard B. Leopold to find out if you may be entitled to compensation. Leopold Law represents people who need a premises liability lawyer to bring a claim on their behalf in New York City or Northern New Jersey.Bringing a Premises Liability Case Following a Snow or Ice Accident
Under premises liability law, property owners or proprietors that hold their property open to the public (like shopkeepers, restaurant owners, and other businesses) have a duty to keep their property free from dangerous conditions that create a risk of foreseeable injuries to others. This duty encompasses a requirement not only to fix known hazards but also to make reasonable inspections of the property and, if any dangerous conditions are discovered, to address the problem either by posting adequate warnings or by eliminating the hazard. If a property owner or proprietor fails to satisfy this duty, and someone is injured as a result of the dangerous condition, the property owner may be liable to the injured person for all of the related damages, including medical costs and loss of income as well as pain and suffering.
Snow and ice, however, present some particular complications. These conditions are natural hazards, and it is common sense that people should be careful in the winter when walking across parking lots, crossing streets, or traversing sidewalks. Since the danger is readily apparent and is also a result of natural causes, there are some more specific rules when it comes to falls involving snow and ice.
As a general rule, homeowners have no duty to clear the sidewalks and pathways in front of their homes. However, homeowners who do undertake to clear walkways must do so without creating a more serious hazard than the snow or ice would present in its natural state. For example, if a homeowner creates a mound of ice or a crater in shoveling their walk, they might be subject to liability because they created a more dangerous condition than would have existed had they left the snow and ice as it was.
For commercial property owners, there is a higher duty. When commercial parties hold their premises open to the public, they have an affirmative duty to remove snow and ice in parking areas and sidewalks or walkways abutting the premises. When necessary, other measures (sand, melting agents, warning signs, and so on) must also be utilized. However, this duty is subject to limits. For example, in the middle of a blizzard, a storekeeper is not expected to continually plow the parking lot, nor must they keep parking lots or walkways free of snow or ice during non-business hours.
The core concept here is reasonableness. A commercial property owner is expected to take reasonable and prudent measures to clear public areas from hazards to the public that are created by accumulations of ice or snow, but they are not required to absolutely insure the public’s safety with regard to any possibility of slipping on snow or ice.Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney in the Bergen County Area
Whether the owner or proprietor of a certain property will bear liability for injuries from a slip and fall on ice or snow will depend upon the specific facts of the situation, and it is contingent upon judging the reasonableness of that party’s conduct in attempting to diminish or eliminate the hazard. If you have been injured by a slip or fall on ice or snow on someone else’s property, and you believe that the fall was caused by an unreasonably dangerous condition that could and should have been remedied, contact Bergen County slip and fall lawyer Howard B. Leopold for a free consultation about your potential case. Call (201) 345-5907 or use our online form to set up an appointment. He can represent people who need an injury attorney in Hackensack, Englewood, Bergenfield, Cliffside Park, Dumont, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hasbrouck Heights, Hillsdale, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, New Milford, North Arlington, Oakland, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, River Edge, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Tenafly, Wallington, Westwood, Wyckoff, Paterson, Newark, and Jersey City, among other communities in Bergen, Passaic, Essex, and Hudson Counties.