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Brooklyn, NY Legal Blog

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Property Owner Has A Duty To Properly Remove Snow And Ice From Their Property

We just had another snow storm.  Between 4 and 10 inches of snow fell in New York City and Long Island and in areas north of New York City, over a foot of snow fell.  Who is responsible for the removal of snow?  When must the snow be removed?

Property owners and occupants in New York City and many Long Island communities are legally responsible for removing snow and ice from their property.  The areas that need to be cleaned include walkways, entryways, steps, sidewalks, walkways as well as in parking lots affiliated with the property.

Under New York law, property owners and occupants are responsible for taking reasonable steps to keep properties free from hazards and risks that could pose a danger to visitors. If a property owner or other responsible party is negligent by failing to comply with their legal responsibilities, and it causes a visitor/customer to be injured while on the property, the injured party may have the right to seek damages by filing a premises liability claim against the at-fault property owner.

Allowing snow and ice to remain untreated on walkways around a property is one example of negligence that could lead to a slip-and-fall accident.

Landowner’s Duty Regarding Snow And Ice Removal

In New York City property owners have certain obligations regarding the proper and timely removal of snow and ice. Section 16-123 of the New York City Administrative Code states that  Every  owner,  lessee,  tenant,  occupant,  or  other person,  having  charge  of  any  building or lot of ground in the city, abutting upon any street where the sidewalk is paved, shall, within four hours after the snow ceases to fall, remove the  snow  or  ice from the sidewalk and gutter, the time between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. not being included in the above period of four hours.

If a property owner has a bus stop or fire hydrant in front of his or her property, that owner is responsible for removing snow and ice from the sidewalks surrounding those areas.

Property owners are responsible for clearing access to their own buildings, driveways and parking lots, even when these areas have been obstructed by snow that was pushed aside by a city plow.

Property owners must keep interior floors dry. This can be done by regularly mopping up any snow or ice tracked in by customers and employees. “Wet floor” signs should also be set up to alert customers and others to the potential danger.

The New York City Administrative Code also provides for exceptions for snow and ice removal.  Section 16-123(b) of the New York Administrative Code states that, “in the event the snow or ice on the property has frozen so hard it cannot be removed without injury to the pavement, the owner, lessee, tenant, occupant or other person having charge of any building or lot of ground as aforesaid, may, within the time specified in the preceding subdivision, cause the sidewalk abutting on such premises to be strewed with ashes, sand, sawdust, or some similar suitable material, and shall, as soon thereafter as the weather shall permit, thoroughly clean such sidewalks.”

Even after the property owner removes the snow and ice from their property, the property owner still has to make sure that there is no ice reformation on their property.  A property owner has to put down some rock salt on the ice to make sure it melts in order to allow people to safely traverse the area. 

The failure to properly remove snow and ice could result in potential personal injury claims if a person falls down and gets hurt on the property owner’s property.  An example of inadequate snow removal can be seen in today’s New York Post article where people had difficult times trying to go down stairways leading to the subway. (http://nypost.com/2017/03/15/taking-the-subway-is-still-a-mess-after-wimpy-winter-storm/)

New York Premises Liability Attorneys

If you have been injured in an accident on another individual’s property that he or she could reasonably have prevented by taking the proper steps to remove snow and ice after a snow storm, you could have grounds for a premises liability claim. After you have received a proper diagnosis and treatment for your injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to begin discussing your claim. Our experienced team of attorneys are available to meet with you and to go over your options for pursuing a premises liability claim.  We can provide you with compassionate and thought out legal guidance and the proper representation that you need as you pursue your personal injury claim against the at-fault property owner.  To schedule a free consultation with our firm, please call our office at (646) 504 - 7384 or email us at effie@soterlawpc.com. 

 


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