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Who is at fault for a slip-and-fall accident?

Winter is often a treacherous time for navigating the outdoors in Albany. While National Weather Service statistics show that we’ve only received about half of the average snowfall through late February, it only takes a little snow and ice covering to create hazardous conditions.

Thousands of New Yorkers are injured each year in slip-and-fall accidents due to the effects of winter weather. Property owners and managers are legally required to maintain their facilities to keep visitors and others safe. Some fall far short of those requirements. But when can they be held responsible if you’re injured on their property?

What are property owners supposed to do?

Landowners and managers must take prompt action once they know unsafe conditions exist. This means after a snow or ice storm property owners must take action in a reasonable amount of time following the end of the storm to remove the ice or snow. Failure to promptly or completely clear floors or private walkways can make owners responsible if someone slips and falls on their property.

What should I do after a slip-and-fall accident?

Your first priority should be your recovery. But you should protect your medical and financial well-being by taking these steps:

  • Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries, no matter how minor. Symptoms of head injuries don’t often show up for days.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations to a “T” and document all medical expenses.
  • If you can, take pictures of the accident scene and write down all the details as you remember them.
  • If anyone saw you fall, get their contact information if possible.

While a commercial business might ask you to fill out an accident report, don’t discuss your case with their insurance company before talking to your own lawyer. An insurance adjuster might pressure you to sign a settlement agreement or other documents. But don’t sign anything until your attorney can look it over.