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Can I still file a claim for a wintertime slip-and-fall injury?

Thousands of people are injured in slip-and-fall accidents involving snow and ice each year. If you are one of them and someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, you have the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical costs.

Too many New Yorkers try to tough it out, especially if they think their injuries aren’t serious. But often, the effects can linger for weeks or even months. If this happened to you, you may have missed several days of work and paid health insurance bills or deductibles out of your own pocket. You might think so much time has gone by it’s too late to file a claim.

Here’s some good news. It’s not too late!

Under New York’s statute of limitations, you have up to three years from the date of an accident to file a personal injury claim for injuries caused by the negligence of others. This includes business owners, homeowners or anyone else who failed to clear snow and ice or promptly remove other hazards. The three-year deadline also includes negotiating with the property owner’s insurance company to cover your losses. You should also know that if the negligence involves a municipality, such as a village, town or city, or the state of New York, a much shorter deadline will apply to file a claim, so follow up quickly to be sure it can be timely filed.

Steps you can take

Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer in these cases is almost always advisable, especially if a significant amount of time has elapsed. Here’s what they’ll expect from you:

  • The five W’s: Details on where, when, what, why and how the accident occurred. Also, the weather conditions, temperature and what you were wearing, such as the shoes you had on.
  • Medical evidence: This includes medical bills, reports from an ER doc or personal physician detailing your injuries, rehabilitation schedules or other treatment.
  • Witness accounts: If you were out with friends, your lawyer can take their statements. You may have also reported the accident to the property owner or their agent. They may have kept records of the incident.
  • Pictures: Photos or videos taken by you or your friends can also be used as evidence.

The bottom line is to provide all the details possible. Once the claim is filed, it’s best to let your attorney do the talking with the property owner’s insurance company. The goal is to help you recover both physically and financially.