What Obligations do Property Owners have for Winter Conditions?

Personal Injury Attorney Serving The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan & New York City Areas


Winter weather in New York City can bring hazardous conditions and an increased risk of injury. Slip and fall accidents caused by snow and ice are a common cause of injuries like broken bones, concussions, and sprains. Per section 7-210 of the New York City Administrative Code, property owners have specific obligations for maintaining safe sidewalks and lots.

New York premises liability attorney, Reid B. Wissner, has helped many slip and fall victims recover damages for their injuries by holding the negligent party responsible. He knows how to get to the bottom of who is accountable for property maintenance and how to calculate fair compensation that accounts for medical bills, wage replacement, pain and suffering, and other factors that may apply.

Common Causes of Winter Slip and Fall Accidents

winter premises liability infographicIce and Snow

Even if you take your time and watch your step, you can be a victim of slippery conditions. When a property owner fails to clear snow and ice in a timely manner, he or she is putting the public at risk.

Lack of Handrails

Building codes mandate handrails in certain situations. Handrails can save you from a life-altering fall down a flight of stairs or crossing a slippery path, but if a handrail is missing or defective, severe injuries can result.

Failure to Warn

When outdoor conditions are wet or snowy, people track moisture into buildings. If preventative measures are not taken by a business or property owner, visitors to the property could be at risk of falling indoors as well. When floors become wet, they can become extremely hazardous, even if you are wearing shoes with good traction. Rugs should be placed and warning signs posted to alert you of a hazardous walkway.

Business and Property Owner Responsibilities

Sidewalks and Lots

Snow and ice must be cleared:

  • Within four hours if snow stops falling between 7:00 AM and 4:49 PM.
  • Within fourteen hours if snow stops falling between 5:00 PM and 8:59 PM.
  • By 11:00 AM the next day if snow stops falling between 9:00 PM and 6:59 PM.

Care must be taken to move snow to locations that do not interfere with pedestrian or auto traffic. For example, snow should not be moved into a crosswalk or street.

If ice cannot be cleared with reasonable effort, the business or property owner must apply de-icer or some type of material, such as ashes or sawdust, that mitigates the risk to pedestrians.  Once conditions have improved, timely removal of applied materials is required.

Interior Surfaces

Failure to mitigate the risks of wet floors inside a building could make a property or business owner liable for your injuries. Frequent mopping and drying of the floor, along with placing highly visible signs that warn of wet floors are two reasonable actions business and property owners should take indoors.

Additional Considerations for Sidewalk Slip and Fall Accidents

New York City code, section 19-152, mandates that property owners maintain sidewalks in good condition. Defective sidewalks include those:

  • With missing sidewalk pieces
  • With significant cracks
  • That are unsecured and that tip or rock
  • With surface defects of one half inch or more
  • Constructed with unapproved materials

Such defects increase the risk of injury in the winter. For instance, snow can mask an uneven surface, and slippery conditions can make it more difficult to maintain your balance on defective surfaces.

Call Us for a Free Consultation

A negligent business or property owner can be held liable for injuries that you suffer as a result of hazardous conditions. Mr. Wissner will review your case at no cost to determine the best way to pursue compensation, so you can cover the expenses and losses related to your injuries. Call us at 212-406-9288 for your free initial consultation. We serve clients in The Bronx, Queens, New York City, and Manhattan.

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