Tis’ the season to be … cautious. Wait … what? Yes, that’s right. The cold weather is coming, and that means snow and ice are not far behind. Snow and ice leads to slip and falls. When you slip and fall on snow or ice and injure yourself, you may be worried about medical bills, lost wages, and other unexpected expenses. Call Us to find out if you have a claim that could help you and your family.
Do I Have A Claim?
Well, it’s a bit complicated so we would rather discuss the specific facts regarding your incident, but here are some basic points to consider.
- WHO fell? Obviously, you can only file a claim if you, personally, fell. However, a spouse may also have a derivative claim that he or she may bring as well for loss of marital services.
- WHAT caused the fall? Ice and snow are considered “dangerous conditions.” If either of these dangerous conditions caused you to fall and injure yourself, then you may have a claim.
- WHERE did the fall occur? If you were invited to someone’s private home then you would be a protected person under the law. Public spaces, such as shopping malls and grocery stores also have a duty to make their premises safe for patrons.
- WHEN did the fall occur? In New York, there is a 3 year statute of limitations on negligence claims such as these. Therefore, your fall must have occurred within the last three years. If the fall occurred during an ongoing storm in progress, then you may not be protected or have a valid claim. Property owners only have a duty to remedy these dangerous conditions after a storm is no longer in progress.
- WHY did the fall occur? If the snow was not properly shoveled or plowed, or de-icer was improperly applied, and that snow or ice caused your fall then you may have a claim. Sometimes, plowing snow into large piles can actually increase the danger. De-icer that is used improperly can also lead to a melting & refreezing event that will actually create new ice.
How To Protect Yourself And Others!
As with any dangerous condition, it is always best to notify someone responsible for maintaining the premises if you notice any risks. This principle is true with snow and ice conditions as well. It would be ideal to memorialize the notice in some sort of writing so that there is not dispute later that the responsible party knew about the condition.
Photographs are also useful to show that a dangerous condition existed for a sufficient period of time so that the responsible party could have fixed it, but failed to. After experiencing a fall, snap a photograph of the dangerous condition that caused your fall. If you are able to, try to capture the dimensions of the condition, such as the length, width and depth of the snow or ice.
After experiencing a fall, notify the party responsible for the premises. Again, try to fill out a written incident report or complaint detailing the condition that caused your fall. Be careful not to overshare and potentially make statements that may be against your own legal interests (ex. “I was not looking down when I fell;” “I did not see what caused my fall;” “The ice was unoticeable because it was black ice”).
Whenever you seek treatment with a medical provider related to this fall, be sure to describe the incident and the condition that caused you to fall. Also, be overly descriptive with every pain you may be feeling. Even the slightest pain could develop into a serious injury so be sure to mention everything that may be bothering you.
CALL US! If you think that you may have a claim or just want some general advice, it would be best to give us a call for a FREE CONSULTATION. We would be happy to discuss your case and help in any way that we can.
Attorney Advertising. This page is designed to provide general information. It is not intended to be legal advice. It can not and should not be substituted for proper legal representation. You should consult an attorney for legal advice regarding your rights as every case is unique and requires in depth analysis and preparation. Do not submit confidential information through this website. Contact initiated through this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. We make no warranty or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of information contained herein.