Snow and Ice Accidents
During the winter
months, snow and ice often create slippery and hazardous
walking and driving conditions throughout the New York
area. Icy and snowy conditions are common causes of slip
and fall accidents and frequently can be prevented by a
responsible property owner or management company.
Slippery surfaces on sidewalks, steps and parking areas
can be hazardous for drivers as well as pedestrians.
Black ice (which is nearly invisible), has been
responsible for a variety of slip and fall injuries and
auto accidents in and around New York. Black ice often
forms on bridges and overpasses, in shaded areas, in
low-lying areas, and on hilltops exposed to wind and
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has
received hundreds of reports of fatal crashes due to
snow and ice with many occurring in the New York
Who is Responsible for Unsafe Slip and Fall
laws regarding who is responsible for removing snow and
ice conditions are more complex than one would think.
Every landowner or tenant is under a duty to exercise
reasonable care under the circumstances to maintain the
property in a safe condition, considering all of the
circumstances including the purpose of the person’s
presence and likelihood of injury.
Liability for snow
and ice conditions may be predicated upon occupancy,
ownership, control or special use of the premises. There
may be County, Town and/or Village laws enacted that
address snow and ice clearing directives.
New York City and
Nassau County codes may vary with respect to the
responsibility of adjacent landowners. Different rules
may apply to commercial premises, multiple apartment
dwellings and absentee landlords. Owners who undertake
to clear, salt and sand must use reasonable care
in snow removal operations so as not to increase the
natural hazard by haphazard cleaning methods. A
partially cleared area may, in effect, invite the unwary
passerby to enter a very dangerous area.
A further concern in
a winter such as the one we are experiencing now, where
there have been numerous storms, is old ice under new
snow. In our 35 years of practice, we have seen that the
injuries sustained in snow and ice falls are especially
serious and life altering, because they often involve
broken hips with surgery and arm fractures with
displacement and complex operations.
We have been very
successful in obtaining compensation for these parties
injured as a result of slips and falls on snow and ice.
Motor Vehicle Accidents on Wet or Slippery Surfaces
A motorist is required to maintain control of their
vehicle. Most drivers don't do everything they can to
avoid slipping and sliding on icy or snowy road
conditions. There are different kinds of icing
conditions, but the most deadly is "black ice", which is
nearly invisible, and even more so at night.
Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Remember: speed is not
your friend in icy conditions so be sure to slow down.
Increase the distance between your vehicle and
slam on the brakes - use gentle, even pressure and
remember that anti-lock braking systems don't require
driving - you never know when surrounding drivers
may lose control.
Avoid spinning your tires and digging your vehicle
into a rut.
advice is: if you don't have to go out in the snow,
then you should stay home.
What Should You Do?
Your first concern should be focused on the health
and safety of the injured party(s).
As such, it is
important to seek immediate medical attention
from a doctor or local emergency room. Injuries on snow
and ice can be severe, although the extent of injuries
may not be immediately apparent. Fractures, head
injuries, back injuries and other forms of physical
trauma are often caused by unsafe conditions which cause
innocent victims to slip and fall.
Take photos of the immediate area with your cell
phone or other available camera. Often conditions can
change rapidly making it much more difficult to prove
your case in the event of litigation.
Obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail
addresses of all witnesses to the accident. Their
account of what happened can be beneficial if there is a
Report the accident to the property owner and if
applicable, to the police. Be sure to request a copy
of the police report.
Do not sign anything from an insurance company or
for the property owner.
Do not agree to
give a recorded statement on the telephone to the
insurance adjuster without receiving guidance from an
experienced personal injury attorney.
Keep any damaged
property or torn clothing in a safe place as it may
provide useful evidence if you have a subsequent case
against the owner and/or their insurance company.
It is vital that you make sure that the nurse
or attending physician correctly describes the details of the accident and
that you confirm this before leaving the hospital.
Hill & Moin, LLP has
extensive experience handling cases for individuals who
have suffered personal injury as a result of slips and
falls on snow or ice.
You have the
right to receive proper compensation for injuries that
by a negligent property owner!
about your rights!