Who is liable if I fall in a parking lot in New York City?
With winter upon us in New York City, snow and ice abound. Accumulations of snow and ice will increase the risk of slip and falls. As we rush around completing our holiday shopping, meeting with friends, and wrapping up the work year, some of us will slip, trip, and fall at locations across the city. Winter weather slip and falls can occur nearly anywhere. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident this winter, you may be able to pursue compensation from the property owner or business responsible. Our NYC slip and fall accident lawyers discuss some basics concerning winter slip and falls and a property owner’s duties to maintain their premises in the winter.
Duty to Maintain Property in the Winter
Winter weather slip and falls are most likely to occur on sidewalks and in parking lots. Accidents can also happen in stores as customers enter with wet boots and clothing. Homeowners and business owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care to maintain the safety of areas that are open to the public. This includes the interior of the store, business parking lots and sidewalks adjacent to commercial areas. Per the City of New York, property owners can be liable for dangerous conditions on sidewalks abutting the property, including ice and snow.
The duty of reasonable care typically requires routine inspections to the business, including parking lots and sidewalks. It further may require the removal of dangerous ice and snow within a reasonable period of time in order to keep customers safe. The failure to remove ice and snow in a timely manner could be considered negligence, thus potentially giving rise to liability on the part of the business owner.
Reasonableness when it comes to the removal of snow or ice will depend on many factors, including the nature of the business and the location of the business. Courts will further look to whether the injury was caused by the natural accumulation of snow. For example, a business may not be required to plow their parking lot during a snowstorm, but should reasonably be expected to clear the lot within a few business hours after the storm. Given the complexities surrounding slip and fall liability during the winter months, slip and fall accident victims should contact our New York City slip and fall attorneys as soon as possible after their injury.