Our region is known for having snowy winters. The buildup of snow and ice can cause more than an achy back from shoveling and car accidents. It can also lead to slips and falls on unkempt sidewalks and damp floors. Anybody, even relatively young and healthy adults, can get seriously hurt this way.
The property owner’s duty to the public
All property owners in Erie County owe lawful visitors a duty of due care. For example, a grocery store owes this duty to its customers, just like a hotel’s guests are owed the same duty. This legal duty gives businesses the responsibility to take reasonable steps to keep the premises safe from “traps” like icy walkways and slippery floors.
Owners and management can fulfill this obligation by either fixing the trap or warning visitors about it. In the context of winter weather, this means shoveling and salting sidewalks, walkways and parking lots, and using floormats and mops to keep entryways dry and safe. Posting warning signs, such as “Caution, Slippery Floor,” may also be reasonable in some cases.
When a business fails to clear snow and ice
Too often, negligent business owners fail to clean up their premises after a snowstorm promptly. Customers and other visitors can slip and fall and hurt themselves as a result. Fortunately, they can make a personal injury claim against the property owner that let their accident happen.
That starts with letting the property owner know about your injuries as soon as possible. Next, you should seek medical attention to get a diagnosis and the treatment you need. Document everything related to your claim, and remember that the statute of limitations on slip-and-fall claims is three years in New York. If you wait too long to file suit, you will lose your chance.