During the winter months, the city of New York requires property owners and renters to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks outside their buildings. This helps to keep pedestrians safe and reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident. The city released a guidebook outlining what exactly property owners, managers, and residents are required to do after a snowfall.
According to the New York City Department of Sanitation, homeowners, property managers, and tenants should prepare for the winter season by gathering the necessary supplies for clearing snow. This could include shovels, plows, and salt, since salt naturally melts ice. The department also recommends hiring an outside service when the snowfall is too heavy for you to clear on your own.
The guidebook states that anyone who owns, leases, rents, or manages a property can be held responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to the building of snow and ice. You do not need to clean the snow and ice while the snow is falling, or even immediately after it stops snowing. The department lays out a timeline for when snow must be removed, depending on the time it stops snowing. For example, if it stopped snowing sometime between 7 a.m. and 4:59 p.m., you must clear the snow and ice within four hours after it stopped.
Removing snow from a sidewalk can be a very strenuous activity, depending on the amount of snow you have to shovel. If you wait until it stops falling, Consumer Reports recommends that you remove the snow in layers, and only carry as much snow as you are comfortable lifting. Between 1990 and 2006, about 11,500 people injured themselves while shoveling snow each year. It’s important to use the right tools and ask for help when you need it.
Clearing the snow from the area around your building will help protect pedestrians passing by, but will also help protect you from being held liable for an accident on your premises. By clearing a path for people to pass safely, it is less likely that someone will slip and fall on a snowy or icy surface and hit you with a premises liability lawsuit. The law varies from state to state, but in New York, the property owner will be held liable if someone was injured while walking on snow that was not cleared in a timely manner, as this constitutes a hazardous condition.
Property owners who do not comply with this mandate will face fines up to $350.
If you were involved in an accident in New York City, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, including your medical expenses, lost wages, more. The New York slip and fall attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to assist you. We’ll do the legal legwork so you can focus on healing. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to speak with a member of our team.
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