Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, L.L.P.

Staten Island Snow and Ice Injury

In the case that an individual faces a slip and fall accident on snow or ice they might be entitled to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. In fact, snow and ic accidents are some of the most common types of slip and fall accidents. The law requires that property owners maintain responsibility for their premises by shoveling any present snow or ice. In the case that a property owner fails to do so and an individual is injured as a result, the property owner might be held liable for his or her negligent behavior. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool our premises liability attorneys have experience defending the rights of those who have been unnecessarily injured in slip-and-fall accidents. Our attorneys have secured a number of favorable verdicts in slip and fall cases, amongst which there is one for $1.5 million. Our experienced attorneys will do their very best to ensure that you receive your maximum deserved compensation.

Consequences of Property Owners’ Failure to Maintain Their Premises

Commercial, residential and public property owners can be held liable for accumulations of snow or ice on their property in the case that the fail to shovel, plot or salt their property. According to New York City law property owners are required to clear any accumulations of snow or ice on their property within a reasonable time period following a storm. Typically, property owners are required to remove any accumulation on their property within four hours of a storm. In the case that a property owner fails to follow through on their duty and as a result an individual is injured, the property owner can be held liable for his or her negligence.

Establishing Liability in Snow or Ice Accidents

Most commonly, accidents occur in New York City on private property or on sidewalks, In the case that the accident occurs on private property, the landowner or the tenant might be held liable for their negligence. Alternatively, if the accident occurs on a sidewalk, the property owner adjacent to the sidewalk might be held liable for his negligent behavior.

Establishing liability or fault depends on issue of “notice”. This issue surmises a conjecture as to whether enough time had passed between the occurrence of the storm and the accident for a reasonable person to have taken notice of and removed the snow or ice. In order to prove “notice” or that the defendant knew or should have known of the dangerous condition prior to your accident, there are numerous issues that must be carefully investigated by your attorney. Additionally, the discovery phase of your case needs to be carried out properly if a settlement is to be recovered.

One such issue is when the poor weather occurred. Weather reports can often be obtained to determine how much and what type of precipitation (rain, sleet, snow) fell on the day of your accident and on the days before your accident. The records should be obtained from the weather station closest to the accident location, and a certified copy of such records may be needed for admissibility purposes in the event that your case goes to trial. Of course, if the condition that caused your accident still exists, photographs should be taken whenever possible. Also, an investigation should be done to determine the identity of any eyewitnesses to the conditions that were present at the time of your accident. Such witnesses may be helpful at trial, or in laying the foundation for settling your case through deposition testimony regarding the dangerous conditions.

As the litigation proceeds, your attorney will have the opportunity to take the deposition of one or more representatives of the defendant property owner or property tenant. Sometimes a deposition is taken of a representative of a management company for the property. At this point, the issue of "notice" (i.e., what the defendant knew and when they knew it) is further investigated. A good attorney will do a full interrogation regarding many factors that may be crucial to proving liability or fault in your case. These include but are not limited to finding out information regarding the following:

  • The identity of any and all employees or agents of the defendant who had opportunity to observe and/or become aware of the dangerous conditions.
  • The identity of any persons whose job responsibilities included monitoring, inspecting, or cleaning the accident location, including but not limited to the responsibility of clearing the relevant area of snow and ice.
  • Any schedules that were in effect and any practice and procedure that the property owner or other defendant followed for inspecting or cleaning the property.
  • Any records that exist regarding any of the above, and any records that exist regarding actual steps that were taken to clear the dangerous area of snow and/or ice prior to your accident

If the defendant claims they actually did take steps to clear the sidewalk, questions need to be answered regarding the manner in which it is claimed that the sidewalk was cleared. For example, what equipment was allegedly used to clear the sidewalk? Was a snowplow or other machinery used? Were manual methods to clear the sidewalk such as use of snow shovels or salting of the sidewalk employed? If so who did this and when?

The aforementioned issues are amongst the myriad of questions your attorney at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool will investigate. Lawsuits involving slip and fall accidents on ice normally deal with transient conditions. A transient condition is one, which may have existed temporarily but vanishes soon after. The property owner or tenant may defend your lawsuit by claiming that the dangerous or defective condition never existed in the first place. Alternatively the defendant may argue that even if the condition did exist, they did not know about it in time so that in the exercise of reasonable care they could have done anything about it prior to the time your accident happened. Additionally, the defendant might also claim that the victim’s injuries are unrelated to the accident or that the accident did not even occur to being with. Companies and individual’s attempting to avoid liability will attempt to put forth a myriad of reasons. Consequently, it is imperative that you retain a qualified and experienced attorney in the case that you have been seriously injured as a result of a slip or fall on snow or ice.

Injuries Resulting from Falls on Ice or Snow

Accidents resulting on snow or ice have the potential to result in serious injury particularly in cases involving elderly individuals. Some of the common injuries resulting from premises liability claims include:

  • Leg injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Knee injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Neck Injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Concussions

However, the sustaining of an injury is not sufficient grounds for a lawsuit, it must also be demonstrated that the injury resulted in economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages pertain to any medical costs incurred due to the accident that are not covered by insurance where as non economic damages refer to any emotion stress or pain and suffering caused by the accident.

Nature of Compensation Available

Individuals injured due to a slip and fall accident on snow or ice may have the option to recover compensation through a premises liability lawsuit. Amongst the compensable damages are economic damages such as lost wages or medical bills. Lost wages refer to any loss of income or damage to future earning potential, which needs to be compensated. Additionally, victims may also receive compensation for medical bills, procedures and medications resulting from the injury. In the case that an injury proves to be fatal, the family of the victim may be able to recoup compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, families of victims may be able to recoup compensation for damages such as loss of consortium, lost wages and damage to future earning potential, funeral costs and pain and suffering.

Contact Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool Today

In the case that you, or a loved one, has sustained a slip and fall injury due to another individual’s negligence, it is imperative that you contact the New York law office of Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool today at 212.406.1700 in order to schedule your free consultation during which we will review the facts of your case and your legal options. Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool accepts cases on a contingent fees basis that is; no monetary fees are expected of you unless and until we are able to secure a favorable settlement on your behalf.

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