We’ve been lucky so far this winter. We haven’t had any major snow storms. Whether or not that happens is still be seen as of this writing. But winter means ice and snow. What are the rules for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks and what are your rights if you slip and fall on some sidewalk that hasn’t been cleared?
NYC administrative code, Section 7-210: Liability of real property owner for failure to maintain sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition states 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…
This law also applies to businesses and the law states that there must at least a four-foot pathway cleared and the four-hour rule depends on when it stops snowing. If the snowfall ends between 7AM and 5PM, the snow must be removed within four hours. If if ends between 5PM and 7AM the snow must be removed by 11AM..
The City will not take any complaints about snowy or icy sidewalks while it is still snowing.
So what happens if you suffer a slip and fall injury after the time frame listed above?
Under Section 720 it also states that property owners can be held liable for any injury to property or personal injury, including death, proximately caused by the failure of such owner to maintain such sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition.
The first thing you should do is gather all the information you can such as the address where the slip and fall happened. If there are any witnesses attempt to get their name address and phone number. if possible, take any photos of the conditions which caused you to slip and fall. It is beneficial to file a police report if possible.
Finally, call 311 to report the dangerous condition.
It would prudent to seek medical care in case there are any injuries that might not be readily apparent. If you do suffer injuries, consult an attorney to see what your options are about receiving compensation for those injuries. If your injuries happen on City owned property, the law is a little different, so contacting an attorney is important.
Stay warm and safe for the rest of this winter.