As snow and ice arrive in New York City, property owners must remember to keep their sidewalks, walkways and parking lots in reasonably safe condition. This helps protect pedestrians from sustaining a fall injury.
Of course, not all property owners maintain their property as prescribed by premises liability law. Sidewalks and parking lot surfaces can crack, rise and fall, become slippery in winter weather and develop holes. Such dangerous conditions can lead to a:
- Broken bone or fractured arm
- Severe sprain or strain
- Cut or bruise
- Concussion or brain injury
- Wrongful death
While most pedestrians are careful about where they are going, some hazards are unavoidable.
What Types of Buildings Must Maintain Safe Sidewalks and Parking Lots?
Whether in the Bronx or Brooklyn, Section 7-210 of the New York City Administrative Code governs the entire City. According to its provisions, the following properties must maintain reasonably safe sidewalks:
- Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other houses of worship
- Multifamily dwellings (four or more families)
- Other types of property
Duties include removal of snow and ice; maintenance and upkeep; fixing broken, uneven and cracked pavement; and tending to raised grating or sewers that could cause a pedestrian to trip and fall.
This does not apply, however, to residential properties with one, two or three families, where the properties are owner occupied and not used for business purposes. In those cases, the city would be liable to the person who was injured if the city had notice of the defect in the sidewalk and the person filed the notice of claim within the time limit. New York City also assumes liability for its failure to clear away snow or ice that has accumulated within its crosswalks, also dependent on the proper filing of a notice of claim.
New York parking lots also must be kept in reasonably safe condition. Property owners must not ignore unsafe conditions such as uncleared snow or slippery ice. Once they know of a defective condition, property owners should fix it so that pedestrians can safely walk across the parking lot.
What Should I Do if I Was Injured While on Another Party's Property?
If you suffer a fall injury while on another person's premises, seek medical attention. You should also document what happened:
- Take photos using your cell phone or camera, especially when snow or ice is present
- Note whether any witnesses were present and get their contact information
- Note where and when the accident occurred, including information on the property owner and the property owner's insurance, if possible
- Call the police; then get the number of the police accident report and the name and number of the police officer
Finally, speak with a New York personal injury attorney experienced in premises liability. You may have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.