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Who is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident in an Icy Parking Lot?

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Peter J. Gregory
Dec 10, 2020
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Winters in the Greater Rochester area can present dangerous conditions. If you are seriously injured in a slip and fall accident caused by ice or snow in a parking lot that has not been properly plowed or salted, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Real estate owners and property maintenance staff in New York have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to keep their property safe, especially when the premises are open to the public. More specifically, property owners and maintenance crews have a legal obligation to keep their premises clear of snow and ice so that their visitors can use them safely. If they fail to make reasonable efforts to keep parking lots, sidewalks or other areas clear and safe, then they can be considered negligent if their failures cause injuries to others.

Furthermore, in order for property owners to be liable for dangerous conditions in an icy or snowy lot, then they must have been able to have reasonably foreseen that the dangerous conditions presented a threat to the public. For example, a court might find that owners are not responsible for those injured at a time when the property was closed after normal business hours.  This is because it might not be foreseeable to the owners that guests would be on the premises when the business is closed. 

Another situation where a property owner might not be held liable for slip-and-fall injuries is when the snow is still falling. New York liability laws typically use the “storm in progress” doctrine, which says that property owners are not liable for slippery conditions that occur during a snowstorm, as it is not reasonable for them to be constantly removing the accumulating snow. In other words, unsafe or slippery conditions that come about due to a storm in progress are not the property owner’s legal responsibility, but owners still have duty of care to restore the property to a safe condition within a reasonable amount of time after the snow stops falling when the storm ends.

How long is a reasonable time for a property owner clear the snow and ice away from a property after the storm has ended? That is usually a fact-specific issue that may ultimately be left up to a jury to decide, although previous court cases provide some guidance.

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a slip-and-fall accident in New York due to 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.