Premises Liability – Ice and Snow Injuries in New York & New Jersey
Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that approximately one million people are injured every year as a result of falling on snow or ice with more than 17,000 people dying as a result of their injuries.
Every year, people in New York and New Jersey suffer serious injuries in accidents caused by ice and snow that force them out of work and into hospitals. These accidents often impact victims both immediately and long-term. The mental and physical after-effects of slip and fall accidents are often made worse by the financial burdens that victims and their families are forced to endure.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by a negligent property owner, it is important that you act quickly to protect your legal rights. As a victim of a slip and fall accident, you can take action to receive the compensation you deserve.
At the law firm of Metro Law, we have been helping personal injury victims from our offices in New Jersey and New York for over 40 years. Property owners and businesses have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment, especially when ice and snow cause particularly bad conditions.
Another party may be responsible for your injuries, even if you believe it was an unavoidable accident. Reach out to our New Jersey or New York premises liability lawyers as soon as possible to explore the legal options available for you.
What are “Reasonableness” and “Natural Accumulation” Rules?
When it comes to removing ice and snow from a walking surface, there is a varying view on what is a reasonable expectation of removal for a property owner. This often depends on the location of where the accident occurred.
In New Jersey, private property owners are not required to keep public sidewalks free from the natural accumulation of snow and ice. However, if they engage in clearing the sidewalk of ice and snow, and they add a new element of danger or a hazard, they can be held liable.
On the other hand, commercial property owners are required to exercise reasonable care to see to it that the conditions of any sidewalks near their property are reasonably safe and do not subject people walking over them to unreasonable harm. Property owners who fail to remedy the situation within a reasonable time can be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages suffered by pedestrians.
New York follows the “natural accumulation” rule, which assumes that invitees to a property will recognize certain dangers on a property and take steps to protect themselves. Under this rule, landlords are not required to remove natural accumulations of ice or snow from various sections of their property that are shared by tenants. However, landlords must actively ensure that their property is reasonably safe for guests.
Dealing with a snow or ice-related slip and fall accident can be extremely complicated. For this reason, you can benefit immensely by working with our New York premises liability lawyers at Metro Law. Our team will investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident, identify all of the factors contributing to your accident, and hold each liable party accountable for their actions or lack thereof.
What Are Property Owners’ Responsibilities?
Understanding what natural accumulations and reasonableness are, is imperative when it comes to taking legal actions following a slip and fall accident. You must also understand what is required of a property owner. In winter conditions, the chances of an accident become more and more likely.
In New York and New Jersey, both landowners and commercial tenants are equally responsible for removing snow and ice from sidewalks, paths, and stairways. The same rules apply to businesses and municipal buildings. Our lawyers are ready and willing to take cases against commercial entities and individuals if they have acted negligently regarding snow and ice removal.
Laws vary for residential buildings. In New York, residents of one-family homes have some responsibility to properly maintain a safe property. In New Jersey, single-family homes have no responsibility to clean walks during bad conditions.
Whether you have suffered a catastrophic injury or just a simple fracture, if your accident was caused by ice and snow, you can take action to protect your rights. We will help you get the proper medical care you need.
Where do Ice and Snow Accidents Take Place?
There are many places where people can be harmed in accidents involving snowy and icy ground surfaces. In both New York and New Jersey, we see thousands of people suffer debilitating injuries in both public and privately owned places. Some of the most common places our team at Metro Law has cited in premises liability claims for our clients include:
- Grocery stores
- Parking lots
- Office buildings
We also see many people harmed in slip and fall accidents while visiting homes and apartment complexes throughout the area. Although property owners are required to clear the ground surfaces on their properties, we continue to see innocent people harmed due to their negligence.
Common Injuries from Icy Surface Accidents
When property owners fail to remove ice and snow from ground surfaces, they leave unsuspected guests at great risk of being harmed. There are thousands of instances where people are involved in slip, trip, and fall accidents across New York and New Jersey that are related to snowy weather.
Victims who are involved in slip and fall accidents can suffer an array of painful injuries. Some of the most common injuries victims suffer from include:
- Muscle Strains
- Knee or Hip Injuries
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spine and Nerve Damage
- Neck Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Broken Bones
- Dislocated Joints
These and other painful injuries can make it incredibly difficult for victims to perform even the simplest of tasks. Not only are these injuries painful, but they often require medical care that is extensive and costly. For this reason, victims who are harmed in accidents due to the negligence of property owners should seek legal guidance as soon as possible. Victims may be entitled to compensation that they can use to cover the costs they face for treatment and various other damages.
Cases Involving Negligent Ice and Snow Removal
If you have been injured as a result of something a property owner did or did not do to remove ice and snow from ground surfaces, you may have legal options available to help you recover. By taking legal action, you may be able to recover compensation to help alleviate some of the financial burdens your face from your accident. Some of the damages our lawyers can help you recover compensation for include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages
Seeking the assistance of our New Jersey premises liability lawyers at Metro Law will ensure you are able to maximize your recoveries. Our law firm can meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident and the legal options available to you.
Proving Negligence in an Ice and Snow Removal Case
When it comes to getting justice after an ice and snow slip and fall incident, you must be able to prove that the defendant was negligent. This includes demonstrating the following:
- The defendant (or property owner) has the duty of care. The property owner is required to maintain a premise that is safe for guests. People should be able to visit a home or a business without being harmed.
- The defendant did not uphold their duty of care. The property owner did not act quickly when it came to removing snow or treating icy ground surfaces.
- The failure of the defendant to uphold the duty of care caused the injury. As a result of the property owner not shoveling snow or treating ice, you were involved in a slip and fall accident that led to your injuries.
- The injuries caused damages. You must prove that the injuries you suffered resulted in damages. Damages can be any physical, financial, or mental harm that you experienced as a result of your injuries. In many instances, victims demonstrate how their injuries forced them out of work, required them to undergo medical treatment, and negatively impacted their lives.
In order to prevail, you must be able to present evidence to the court that is clear and convincing. Our New York premises liability lawyers at Metro Law can help you with various tasks to ensure you have the strongest case possible.
Presenting Evidence on Your Slip and Fall Case
When filing a legal claim following a slip and fall accident, it is crucial that you are able to meet the burden of proof in court. In order to prevail, you must be able to demonstrate that the owner of the property had a duty to protect those who came to visit. You must further prove that they failed to meet the duty of care and, as a result, you were injured. The injuries must have resulted in damages.
Working with our personal injury lawyers in New Jersey will ensure you are able to establish the burden of proof and recover the compensation you deserve.
While working with Metro Law, we will present the most convincing evidence possible to ensure you have the strongest case. Some of the services we provide for our clients include:
Investigating the accident: We will gather evidence from the scene of the accident, gather surveillance footage, and speak with witnesses to help bolster your claim.
Investigate the property owners: We will uncover whether the property has a history of violations or whether the property owner has been involved in litigation surrounding negligence in the past. We will use our findings to demonstrate that the property owner has a history of negligence when it comes to maintaining their property.
Collect maintenance records: Having records of when the property was maintained, how often, and what took place can be extremely beneficial. If there were known issues that were not addressed, it can help you prove negligence. When property owners fail to maintain safe environments for guests, they should be held accountable.
Our lawyers will use solid evidence as we negotiate full and timely compensation on your behalf.
Ask About Your Legal Options
Weather-related slip and fall accidents occur every year in New York and New Jersey. Unfortunately, many of them could be avoided if property owners acted with care while maintaining their properties. Instead, we see countless innocent people left to suffer due to the reckless, negligent, and malicious actions of others.
If you have been injured in an ice or snow-related accident, you must seek legal guidance as soon as possible. You may have legal options available that can help you move forward and recover.
For over four decades, our New Jersey and New York premises liability lawyers at Metro Law have stood by the side of victims who have been harmed in accidents through no fault of their own. We provide only the most trusted and responsive legal guidance to victims to ensure they are able to maximize the amount of compensation they receive for their accidents.
If you have any questions, our attorneys are ready to help you find answers. Open during weekly business hours, we offer evening and weekend consultations as well. Spanish and Portuguese translation services are available in-house. Contact our New Jersey and New York premises liability attorneys at (973) 721-9984 today to schedule your free initial consultation.