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Black Ice, Slip and Fall Injuries, and Your Right to Compensation

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Peter J. Gregory
Dec 28, 2020
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You may have heard the phrase “pure as New York snow,” which conjures up visions of fresh, powdery mounds. Unlike these bright white hills, black ice is clear as a mountain stream. It looks black because it usually covers blacktop or asphalt. Black ice is dangerous because you can see right through it, and the term also applies to clear ice that covers sidewalks and other surfaces.

Black ice tends to accumulate in shaded areas when the temperature dips below the freezing point. Watch for it below trees, tunnels, bridges, and overpasses. The greatest danger occurs when the temperature dips below freezing overnight, then rises to marginally above the freezing point during daylight hours. This weather pattern can leave streets and sidewalks free of ice in sunlit areas even as black ice lingers in the shade. The result is a high rate of slip and fall injuries and even car accidents as pedestrians and motorists are caught by surprise.

Generally, the owner or occupant of real estate is legally responsible for ensuring that their premises are safe for guests by conducting reasonable inspections of the property for hazards, including black ice, and either removing or warning of any potentially dangerous conditions. This legal principle applies to private homeowners, businesses open to the public and even the government property. Some cities even have laws requiring property owners to keep the sidewalks in front of their premises free of snow and ice.

However, under New York State’s comparative fault rule, you are only entitled to damages to the extent that the accident was not your fault. Insurance companies and defense attorneys may try to limit settlements in slip and fall accident claims by accusing injured people of not keeping a proper lookout, failing to wear proper footwear or even walking too quickly.

It is important to consult with a personal injury attorney shortly after any accident to review issues of liability, gather evidence and review damages.  If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a slip and fall accident in New York due to black ice or snow, you may have a claim for personal injuries. Please contact us to learn more.

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About the author:  Peter J. Gregory is a partner with the firm.  He is a trial lawyer with extensive experience resolving disputes in state and federal trial courts. His personal injury practice focusses on advising clients who have been injured or lost loved ones in accidents caused by the carelessness or recklessness of others. Please feel free to contact him directly at or (585) 512-3506.

This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.