On a cold evening, in February 2014, a 56-year-old man had just left a restaurant after enjoying a delicious meal with his wife. The path to their car took them across the sidewalk of a commercial building, a sidewalk which hadn’t been cleared after a recent winter storm. As they crossed, the man’s foot hit an icy patch and he lost his footing. He slipped and fell, hitting his head on the ice and concrete.
The blow to his head resulted in brain damage. This damage caused him to lose his sense of smell, his ability to taste food, memory loss, and even years later he continues to experience intense mood swings.
Ice & Snow Slip & Fall Lawsuit
The slip and fall victim decided to pursue a lawsuit against the owner of the building for failing to remove ice and snow from their sidewalks. After careful negotiation, his legal team was able to secure him $750,000 in damages for his losses.
This lawsuit is just one of many that are filed each winter. Under premises liability laws in New York, property owners, managers, and even snow removal companies can be held legally responsible for the injuries that are sustained by visitors to their property if snow and ice aren’t properly removed.
NY Snow & Ice Laws
According to New York State Law, property owners, managers, and even tenants are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the sidewalks which are adjacent to their buildings. The amount of time given to clear the snow depends on what time the snow stops falling:
- If the snow stops falling between 7:00 a.m. and 4:59 p.m., then the party responsible has four hours to clear it.
- If the snow stops falling between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., then it must be cleared within 14 hours.
- If the snow stops falling between 9:00 p.m. and 6:59 a.m., then the responsible party has until 11:00 the next morning to clear the snow.
Not only can property owners face lawsuits if they fail to clear the sidewalk, but they can also be fined for failing to comply. Reports of uncleared sidewalks can be made by dialing 311.
What Kinds Of Injuries Can I Sue For?
Anytime that someone sustains a serious injury which causes them losses, they can choose to file a lawsuit which may provide them with compensation for those losses. Compensation is awarded through “damages” and can cover:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Medical expenses.
- Lost earnings.
So bottom line – it doesn’t matter what kind of injury was sustained. However, some of the more common injuries that are claimed include:
- Spinal Injuries
- Brain Trauma
- Broken Bones
These injuries frequently cost thousands of dollars in medical treatments and can impact a person’s quality of life.
How Long Does A Lawsuit Take?
There is no set time period for premises liability lawsuits. In some cases, a settlement is reached well before the case goes to trial and the plaintiff receives compensation in a few months. Other cases can take longer, sometimes more than a year. But this shouldn’t ever deter a victim from seeking legal help.
During the waiting period, an experienced lawyer will perform an investigation and obtain the evidence that is needed to prove the case. In addition to this, it gives them time to consult with experts who may be willing to testify on the plaintiff’s behalf if the case goes to court.
Even if it takes more than a year, the reality is that a lawsuit is frequently the only way that a victim will obtain any sort of compensation for the pain and suffering they have endured because someone else couldn’t be bothered to clear away snow and ice.