In addition to being the causal factor in many motor vehicle crashes, the presence of snow and ice is a major contributing factor to slip and fall accidents in New York City. Every winter slick spots on pedestrian walkways and building entryways can-in a second-cause irreparable damage and lifelong disability. However, the Department of Buildings warns that those aren't the only safety risks caused by inclement weather and dropping temperatures. Falling snow and ice can cause severe injuries and even kill pedestrians or cyclists within city limits.
Indeed, in 2010 a man was struck in the head by ice falling that calved off a hotel roof in Times Square. Thankfully the man survived but the next potential victim might not be as lucky.
In a statement released shortly the dramatic holiday accident, a Department of Buildings spokesperson said that changes in temperature during winter months can create a host of potential legal issues for property owners. In addition to increasing the weight load on a building's roof (which could lead to building collapses) ice and packed snow can effectively become bombs dropped from heights. "Property owners have a legal responsibility to consider the safety of their buildings, and this obligation extends to when melting snow leads to ice that may come loose during warm weather."
To avoid potential liability lawsuits, building owners should regularly inspect their roof lines and any sidewalk overhangs for potential hazards. If a potential threat is identified, the owner must block off the dangerous area (with safety notices, caution tapes, etc.) or remove the threat else face the legal consequences.
If an individual is injured because the property owner failed to take the necessary precautions, the injured individual stands a good chance of being able to successfully pursue a personal injury lawsuit in order to recoup any medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
If you've been injured by falling ice or snow, contact a personal injury attorney immediately. As with many such premises liability cases in New York City, swift action is necessary for investigators to positively identify the cause of the accident before conditions change. And the quicker you get a lawyer on your side, the sooner you can get back to your life as it was before your accident. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation to learn your rights at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122.