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Are businesses at fault for winter slip-and-falls on sidewalks?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2021 | Injuries |

Winter can be a harsh and unsafe season in the Rochester area. Snow can come in quick and heavy, making the roads unsafe in the morning. Snow accumulation and melt that then freezes makes sidewalks unsafe for pedestrians.

Even when you have great winter boots, you might slip while walking down the street or from your parked vehicle into a business. If you fall on a portion of sidewalk owned by a business that they clearly did not maintain, are they responsible for the injuries and losses that you suffer?

Rochester generally requires that property owners clear snow and ice

There is, unfortunately, some confusion about the responsibilities of property owners for accumulated precipitation during the winter months. The local authorities do provide sidewalk snow removal when a large amount of snow falls at once, usually four inches of snow or more.

However, this is a supplementary amenity, and property owners still ultimately have the responsibility to remove the snow and ice on their sidewalks. Failing to do so in a timely manner means that the business could ultimately be responsible when someone falls because of the ice that they let accumulate on a dress on their sidewalk. 

What are your rights if you fall on a business’s icy sidewalk?

There may be several options open to you after a slip-and-fall incident due to negligence snow and ice removal on a business’s sidewalk. Ideally, you will head directly into the business to tell the owner or manager on duty about your fall. An official report will be important for asserting your right to compensation later.

Business owners typically carry insurance policies that protect them from any forms of liability, including premises liability. You may be able to make a claim against this insurance policy to cover any medical treatment you need or property damage you suffer, like if you broke your phone or a valuable watch when you fell. In cases where a business owner doesn’t have insurance or enough coverage, someone who gets hurt on their property may have to file a civil lawsuit.

Understanding who has responsibility for snow removal can help you determine if you may have grounds for a personal injury claim when you slip in the snow.

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