Winter is coming! In fact, in many places in New York and New Jersey, temperatures have already dropped into the low 30s or even colder. Ice and snow are sure to follow.
The risk of slipping and falling in an accident rises exponentially in colder weather. Ice, snow, and sleet can create treacherous — even potentially deadly — conditions for pedestrians, as sidewalks and steps become difficult if not impossible to walk on.
What if you rent? The sidewalks and parking lots outside your house or apartment building should be kept free of ice and snow, and so should the steps. It’s part of the duty of whomever is responsible for maintaining the building.
But what if you slip and fall due to ice or snow on the sidewalks, walkways, or steps? Who is responsible?
Responsibility for Maintaining Building Safely
There are some general principles in liability and responsibility in buildings. Ultimately, owners of buildings have what courts term “a duty of care” to keep their buildings well maintained and safe for tenants. In the case of snow, ice, and sleet, that means making sure all the areas tenants would reasonably walk on are kept clear of snow, ice, and sleet. It also means sanding properly if conditions could change.
There are two other elements in assessing responsibility and liability. Owners not only have a duty of care, they have to know that the area is unsafe (or the conditions need to be deemed such that a reasonable person would have known), and have had sufficient time to shovel, de-ice, and sand.
Now, if you slip and fall due to the fact that ice and snow wasn’t removed from walkways and steps around your building, several parties might be at fault. It depends on the system for snow and ice removal.
When Is the Property Owner at Fault for a Slip and Fall on an Icy Walkway?
The owner might be at fault if he failed to remove the snow or ice if he was personally responsible. If the owner hired a property manager to oversee maintenance of the building(s), the property management company could be at fault if they failed to either remove it or hire someone to do it. If either the property manager or owner engaged a super or a grounds crew to perform the shoveling, de-icing, and sanding, and they failed to do so, they could be at fault. If the owner failed to engage either a property manager or super/grounds person, or failed to train them, the owner might be at fault.
But slip and fall cases can, of course, be complex. Supers and grounds crew can argue that they were not given the instruction, or not properly trained. All parties could potentially argue that the snow or ice had only recently occurred, and that didn’t have sufficient time to clear it.
All these parties could also argue, unfortunately, that the person who slipped and fell was at fault. If they didn’t know that the temperature was low enough to cause ice, for example, or hadn’t had time to clear it, they may argue that you knew the area was unsafe but walked on it anyway, or didn’t wait for it to be cleared. They may even argue that you wore improper footwear for cold and icy conditions, or were walking too fast.
Do You Need a Slip and Fall Attorney in New York or New Jersey?
Slip and fall cases can be complex in terms of determining who is at fault. You need an experienced attorney on your side to make sure you receive fair treatment and just compensation for your injuries.
NY & NJ slip and fall lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have been investigating and litigating cases involving negligence on the part of landlords and property managers in New York and New Jersey for more than four decades.
We will fight to see that you receive just compensation. For a complimentary case review, call us today toll free at our Bergen County or Rockland County offices.
- National Safety Council. Fall-prevention Measures Can Keep Older Adults Independent. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/older-adult-falls.
- U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention. Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter. https://www.cdc.gov/features/winterweather/index.html.
In spite of substantial safety enhancements over the past several years, swimming pools continue to present great risks for property owners and their guests. Statistics compiled by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, for example, reveal that accidental drowning is one of the top causes of fatalities among children younger than 14, and that for a two-year period between 2015 and 2017, more than 6,400 children received treatment in hospital emergency rooms for non-fatal swimming pool accidents.
The premises liability attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman want to help swimming pool owners in New York and New Jersey to enjoy their pools with minimal risks or injuries. These swimming pool safety tips can help to keep your pool environment safe while increasing your overall levels of comfort and pleasure with your pool.
7 Swimming Pool Safety Tips
The American Red Cross and other swim safety organizations generally recommend that swimming pool owners take the following precautions to keep their pools safe and secure:
- Erect fences and other barriers that are at least four feet tall around a pool to control access to it. Check with local building codes and property association guidelines to verify the types of fences that are required or allowed.
- When you are not using your pool, cover it, remove ladders and other access devices, and install a motion sensor to alert you when someone enters the pool.
- Do not allow anyone to swim in your pool alone or without supervision, even if that person is an experienced swimmer. A slip and fall accident can render a person unconscious and can quickly lead to fatalities around unattended pools.
- Keep your pool filter clear of debris and test and maintain chemical levels to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination. Check filter intakes to confirm that they do not create a suction risk that might hold a smaller person underwater.
- Avoid the use of glass or other breakable beverage containers around your pool. Broken glass near pool surfaces can cause serious injuries to barefoot swimmers.
- Verify that safety and recovery devices, including throw ropes, buoys, and shepherds crook life hooks, are readily available near your pool.
- Install non-slip coatings for easier walking around a pool with a reduced risk of slipping on wet surfaces.
Swimming Pools and Premises Liability Issues
Liability for swimming pool accidents is governed by applicable standards of premises liability. A pool owner owes a greater duty of care to his or her guests and to other persons who are permitted to use the pool. That duty extends to keeping the pool and its surrounding premises safe from undue risks, and to warning pool users of other known risks, including, for example, shallow areas of a pool that are inappropriate for diving or deep areas that could pose a drowning risk for small children and weaker swimmers.
A pool owner owes a lower duty of care to someone who trespasses onto his or her property to use a pool without permission, but pool injuries to trespassers can still create liabilities for pool owners, particularly if the trespasser is a younger child who saw the pool as an “attractive nuisance”.
In all cases, the liability of a pool owner to a person who suffers a swimming pool injury will depend upon the specific facts of each case. Because statutes of limitations and other procedural rules can limit an injured party’s ability to recover damages in a swimming pool accident case, the best course of action following any pool injury is to contact an experienced premises accident attorney as soon as is possible in order to start any litigation before that statutory period expires.
Contact the Premises Liability Attorneys at KGG for Representation in Swimming Pool Accident Cases
The New York and New Jersey premises liability attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman hope that you, your family, and your guests get the maximum amount of enjoyment during the summer swimming season. If, however, you do suffer a swimming pool injury in Bergen County, Rockland County, or surrounding communities, we urge you to contact us at your earliest convenience to protect your rights to recover damages for your injuries from any negligent parties that have not implemented appropriate safety procedures. We will challenge any insurance company settlement offers that undervalue the cost of your injuries and we will get you the compensation you need to help you recover from your injuries and to get you back to the pool as quickly as is possible.
- Redcross.org: Home Pool Safety. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/home-pool-safety
- Poolsafety.gov: CPSC Calls for Increased Water Safety Efforts as Summer Swim Season Arrives. https://www.poolsafely.gov/news/cpsc-calls-for-increased-water-safety-efforts-as-summer-swim-season-arrives/
- Swimmingpool.com: Safety Guidelines. https://www.swimmingpool.com/pool-living/pool-safety/safety-guidelines
When entering a shopping mall, perhaps the last thing on anyone’s mind is the possibility of obtaining an injury. However, slip and falls as well as back and neck injuries obtained at shopping malls account for thousands of personal injury claims a year. If you or someone you know has been injured in a shopping mall incident contact the law office of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer and Graifman P.C. They will provide you with only the best legal representation to get you the results you deserve.
The term “shopping related injury” covers a very wide range of accidents. For example, slip and falls can result from a wet floor, a torn carpet, escalator malfunctions, or poor lighting. Other types of shopping related injuries include shopping cart related injuries, head and body injuries from falling objects such as retail displays, overcrowding injuries, or parking lot injuries due to lack of maintenance to wear and tear on concrete.
Shopping mall related injuries claims can be hard to pinpoint as are any claims having to do with a public place, due to the fact that there may be multiple outside parties involved or at fault. However, state negligence laws and premises liability laws state that store owners must maintain a safe environment for shoppers by making sure that there are no hidden dangers or hazardous conditions that could cause injury of any kind. For example, when there is a spill, the store must clean it up immediately, anything that is broken such as a step or railing must have a caution sign on it and must be taken care of right away.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a shopping related injury, contact the law office of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer and Graifman P.C. to receive the best legal representation. Call today for a free consultation at (800) 711-5258/ (845) 459-0001/ (201) 690-7735.