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Old Man Winter Could Cost You; Snow and Ice Present a Laundry List of Liability Concerns

Mother Nature this morning unleashed the first of two storms, which over the next two days are expected to blanket parts of the Capital Region with up to two feet of snow. The storms, undoubtedly, will leave in their wake many casualties from slips and falls.

It is important that homeowners and business owners know they can be held liable if they fail to clear snow or ice on their property and someone is injured. Under New York State law, property owners must remove snow in a “reasonable time after” the conclusion of a snowfall. Renters can sometimes be subject to similar liability if their leases identify them – not the landlord – as being responsible for clearing snow or ice.

People who managed to shovel their driveways and steps and got to work in one piece could still face other dangers. Ice, sleet and snow were factors in 41 fatal occupational injuries nationwide in 2008, up 71 percent from 24 in 2004, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Most New Yorkers are probably getting tired of shoveling their driveways, and for some the dreaded chore carries physical risks. For example, falls while shoveling accounted for 20 percent of snow-shoveling injuries and medical emergencies treated in U.S. emergency departments between 1990 and 2006, according to a recent study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. However, not cleaning up snow or ice on your property, and having someone else fall on it, could have you dreading legal consequences more than another hour outside with a shovel.

To speak with an attorney please call 1-888-Law-4-Life or visit us online at


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