Search Site
226 Lenox Ave. | New York, New York 10027
Free Consultation 212-406-9466
Accidents due to Snow or Ice

Here in New York, we just got hit with a bit of snow.  Travel advisories are in effect, government offices in the 5 boroughs, with the exception of police, fire, and emergency services, will be closed on January 27, 2015.  By all means, stay safe, listen to the travel advisories and keep your loved ones indoors through the storm.  What happens, though, if you are required or forced to venture outside and you or someone you love encounters misfortune and slips and falls due to snow or ice?  What are your rights?  What can you do to protect yourself?

Property Owners Have a Duty of Care to Clear Snow and Ice from their property

Many people slip and fall on snow or ice on sidewalks, streets, driveways, stairs, or in parking areas.  Snow and ice lawsuits are generally not easy cases.  The laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but here in New York, property owners and businesses have a Duty to use Reasonable Care in clearing their property and adjacent areas (sidewalks).  The law requires property owners to promptly remove snow and ice to reduce the risk of slip and falls and resultant injuries. Were there reasonable efforts to clear the snow and ice in a timely fashion or has it been allowed to accumulate?   If too much time has elapsed after a snowfall and before an area is cleared and salted, if necessary, the owner may be liable if someone slips and falls on the accumulated snow or ice.  By the same token, pedestrians have a duty to use reasonable care and to exercise appropriate caution in traversing areas that are covered with snow and ice.  If you are walking during the storm or shortly thereafter, you can obviously anticipate slippery areas and should take precautions.  If you do fall, a court will evaluate your contributory negligence as a factor, which may reduce your recovery for injuries you suffer.

Storm in Progress Rule – You Generally Cannot Recover

Under what’s called the “storm in progress” rule, a property owner will generally not be held responsible for accidents occurring as a result of snow and ice until an adequate period of time has passed after the storm allowing the owner a reasonable opportunity to clear the area and eliminate the hazard.  Certified weather reports or testimony from a meteorologist will be used as evidence to determine if the storm was still ongoing at the time of the accident, or if enough time had passed so that the owner, managing agent or responsible party should have taken adequate measures to clear and make the area safe.

Cause and Create, Notice & “Black Ice”

When a property owner creates a dangerous condition or has actual or “constructive” notice of it, the owner may be liable for a resulting accident.  For instance, if the property owner’s snow and ice removal efforts are not done properly and ice is left in the area or if ice is actually created by the snow removal, and an accident results, the owner will be liable for the injuries suffered.  If, for example, the property owner piles snow in an area of a parking lot or sidewalk, which then begins to melt after the storm, and then freezes again, creating a dangerous icy condition, the owner may be held responsible for a slip and fall on that ice.  If the manner in which an area is shoveled or plowed causes black ice, which is particularly dangerous since it may be difficult for a pedestrian to see, an owner may be liable for resulting accidents.

Municipal Liability

Importantly, if you do have the misfortune of injuring yourself due to a slip and fall on snow or ice on (some) public sidewalks or within a crosswalk that has not been properly plowed or cleared, the City may be liable.  However, you will not be able to file a lawsuit, even if the City is responsible, unless you file a Notice of Claim within 90 days after the accident.  If you or your attorney does not file that Notice of Claim on  time, you will be prevented from successfully filing a lawsuit (with some very limited exceptions).  That is why it is crucial to consult with an attorney immediately after an accident.

A Picture is worth a Thousand Words

If you have injured yourself on a particular snowy or icy condition, try to get a photograph of the area as quickly as possible after the accident.  If you are unable to due to your injuries or transport to the hospital emergency room, please contact someone immediately and have them take a picture of the area for you.


Don’t forget to like our page, for continuing information and news.

Contact us

Please fill out the form below and one of our attorneys will contact you.

Quick Contact Form

Our Office
  • New York Office
    226 Lenox Ave.
    New York, New York 10027
    Phone: 212-406-9466
    Fax: 212-406 9410
  • "Lenox Avenue attorney Carmen Giordano is honest, experienced and determined to win. He and his staff consistently provide incredible customer service and a solid commitment to serving the Harlem community."  -Daniel “Dapper Dan” Day

  • "I initially hired Carmen S. Giordano in 2005 to represent Be & D, our high-end ladies accessories division, in litigation with one of our major suppliers. Mr. Giordano quickly and efficiently collected pertinent information and was able to obtain a judgment that I considered most satisfactory. I have continued to ask Mr. Giordano to represent us in domestic and some international matters. I know that I can rely on his legal advice, and I deeply appreciate his personal warmth and genuineness whenever I contact him."  -Larry Dumain

  • "Recommend Carmen Giordano?” You cannot “recommend ” a friend, you have to experience the warmth the caring, the true concern to help you with your problem . It’s an “experience ” to to hear the sound advice and how to proceed with a dilemma. Yes, Carmen is a true “trailblazer”, a “template ” for other attorneys, in his total concern for his client/friend and how to help. He is also very well supported by his staff."  -Peter Grinenko

  • "Carmen is an OUTSTANDING Lawyer. This guy really gets things done! I never met a lawyer who put in so much effort and hardwork into their cases . I met Carmen about a month ago where i had a real messy case and a month later my case was settled. I recommend him as a lawyer 100%. This guy is the real deal!"  -Mancita

  • "I have been very happy with the work Carmen has led on my behalf. He is responsive and completely reliable and trustworthy. I know I can always depend on him to make sound recommendations on my behalf. He knows the law from A to Z and stays current on changes in the law whether it’s estate planning, employment issues or legal matters for same-sex couples. He has as comfortable style which helps clients be at ease and he always takes the time to explain concepts and implications so we can arrive at informed decisions together."  -Jack T

  • "Carmen helped me fight a case against a crooked Psychiatrist named forester. We settled the case and therefore won. With the win and the money, I was able to rebuild my life to some degree. Lawyers don’t get much better than this guy. Thank You again Carmen!"  -Jon

  • "Mr. Giordano is honest, trustworthy, efficient, thorough & caring. He is professional & personable. He truly cares about his clients. I highly recommend him."  -Kim

  • "Carmen Giordano is the embodiment of everything you would hope to find in a lawyer; he is trustworthy, sincere and knows his stuff. He comes highly recommended from such a vast cross-section of people–from mutual friends at the National Action Network, to clothing designers and music producers. Having experience in such a variety of areas makes Giordano one of the most well rounded attorneys I know. I wholeheartedly recommend him because unlike some in his industry, he really looks out for you. And from the times I have been in his office, he truly represents everyone from the falsely accused in Harlem, with nowhere to turn, to big shots, including top musicians and an occasional judge."  -Michelle

  • "I highly endorse this lawyer. He has great integrity and very broad experience in litigation. He has had great success in achieving excellent results for his clients; provides vigorous and reliable representation to each client; and has excellent judgment in assessing the merits of a claim."  -Margaret King, Attorney

  • "Carmen Giordano came to my rescue when I needed it most. I was a passenger in a taxi that crashed, leaving me badly injured and unable to work or take care of my 3 children. The taxi company tried to downplay my injuries and my losses. But Carmen fought for me every step of the way in this complicated case. He understood my lost wages, and understood the strain on my family (he’s a father too). He made sure the judge understood it, too. By the the time he concluded his eloquent opening argument, the defendants quickly settled. I remain extremely grateful to Mr. Giordano."  -Lauren

Leave a Review