Who Can I Sue if I Slip on an Icy Sidewalk in New York City?
Winters in New York can be romantic and beautiful, but there is also the potential for serious injury. As the temperatures drop, sidewalks and roads can become snowy and icy. A slippery sidewalk can represent a grave injury risk. If you have slipped and fallen on an icy sidewalk or parking lot, you may have suffered a head injury after falling backward. Falling on your hip can also cause painful fractures. These injuries can be life-altering, and you deserve the opportunity to pursue legal action.
The question is, who do you sue? Unlike a traffic accident or an injury caused by a faulty product, it’s not always easy to determine who is responsible for a slip and fall. To answer questions like these, it’s best to enlist the help of a qualified attorney. A legal professional can help you determine who was responsible, and they can prove negligence in a court of law. As a result, you can receive adequate compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering for your injuries.
The Statute of Limitations
After you have suffered a slip and fall injury due to ice or snow, you need to act quickly. Pursuant to New York’s statute of limitations, you generally have three years to file your personal injury claim after the incident has occurred. Sometimes, you may even have to act faster, and file with a municipality within 90 days after a slip and fall, otherwise you risk giving up your claim against them. While this might seem like a lot of time, it’s best to take legal action as soon as possible. What may seem like a bruise or a headache today could evolve into debilitating injuries, brain damage, or other permanent injuries that impact you for the rest of your life.
In addition, you should strive to collect evidence during this period, take photographs of what caused you to fall, your injuries, defects at the location, or anything that may have contributed to the dangerous condition. You should also try to get the name and contact information for any witnesses, and they can prove very helpful in your case.
The Duty of Property Owners
According to Administrative Code § 16-123 of New York City, property owners have a duty to clear away snow and ice from sidewalks that adjoin their property 4 hours after the snow stops falling. If these property owners are unable to clear away ice or snow for whatever reason, they must lay down salt, ash, sawdust, or some other type of material that makes their sidewalks safer for pedestrians.
If property owners fail to timely act, you can hold them liable for your injuries. This is called a premise liability case. In most cases, your settlement is paid out by the property owner’s insurance. However, insurance companies are famously reluctant to part with their cash, which means that your settlement could be inadequate. This is why it’s always a good idea to enlist the help of a qualified attorney who can help you get the compensation you truly deserve.
Generally speaking, you can sue two different possible entities after slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk:
- Property Owners: Business owners and homeowners can be held liable if they fail in their duty to reasonably and timely clear away ice and snow.
- The City: The municipal government may also be held liable if you slipped and fell in a public area that the city is responsible for maintaining. That’s why its so important to hire an attorney right away. You need to figure out what happened, who is potentially responsible, and gather the evidence needed to pursue your claim successfully.
Get Legal Help
If you need an experienced personal injury attorney, reach out to an NYC personal injury lawyer at the office of Michael Gunzburg, P.C. today.