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New York City Medical Malpractice Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Who is Liable for Falling Ice on New York’s Sidewalks?

Who is Liable for Falling Ice on New York’s Sidewalks?


Falling ice from buildings is a serious threat to pedestrians in New York City. During the winter months, ice can form on the side of various structures before sliding off and plummeting great distances towards sidewalks. As water accumulates on buildings and freezes during the night after a rainy or snowy day, temperatures rise in the morning. This causes the ice to melt slightly before falling onto innocent pedestrians walking on the public sidewalks below and who are just trying to get to work on time.

Although being struck by falling ice might seem like a “one-in-a-million” occurrence, it’s much more common than many people realize. For people who have been struck by falling ice, the issue is very real, and in most cases extremely painful and debilitating . Many have compared the experience to getting hit by a flurry of falling bricks. Common injuries include brain trauma, shattered shoulders, and spinal issues. Many pedestrians lose consciousness as they fall forward into the pavement. These injuries are often permanent and life-altering and require a life time of future medical care.

Who is Liable?

Who’s to blame for this serious threat to innocent pedestrians on the public sidewalk in New York City? Who is liable? We have handled many cases like these in the past, and our investigations have been quite revealing. We have discovered that many building owners are fully aware that ice represents a serious threat, and yet they often do nothing to address the issue. Something as simple as a warning sign placed on the sidewalk or even closing off an area known to have falling ice- could help prevent numerous serious injuries, and yet many of these building owners simply ignore the problem completely. Many building owners play the odds hoping no one gets hit, or if they do get hit, no one is seriously injured, or if they become seriously injured, the unlucky pedestrian decides not to sue them.

  • 28-301.1 of the Administrative Code of City of New York

Under §28-301.1 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, the law clearly states that building owners must keep their property properly maintained at all times, especially when the lack of maintenance may pose a risk to the public. In legal terms, this is referred to “reasonable care.” Property owners always owe people who are on their property a degree of care and responsibility. This includes shoveling away snow and ice from their sidewalks, cleaning up spills, and securing items that may fall onto pedestrians walking along the public sidewalk. Dealing with the potential threat of falling ice is just one of many responsibilities property owners must address in order to provide “reasonable care” to the public.

Why Falling Ice is a Greater Threat Than Ever 

If you feel like falling ice is a greater threat today than it was in past generations, you’re not alone. This issue is becoming more and more prevalent because of the way building design has changed in New York City. According to various reports, buildings have become more angular and “modern” in recent years. These unorthodox angles and designs make it easier for ice to accumulate and drop onto unsuspecting pedestrians walking oblivious to the dangers that lurk overhead.

The Importance of Getting Legal Help 

Make no mistake – property owners are indeed liable for injuries involving falling ice in New York City. That being said, proving liability in a court of law isn’t always an easy process. To give yourself the best possible chance of holding these property owners responsible for your injuries and gaining fair and adequate compensation, it’s best to enlist the help of a qualified New York City personal injury attorney. Reach out to Michael Gunzburg, P.C. today.


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