Winters in the New York City region are tough, but it does not excuse business property owners from taking reasonable measures to clear their sidewalks, parking lots and entryways of ice and snow. Under New York premises liability law, a property owner has the responsibility to adequately remove a hazardous slippery condition in a timely manner or, barring quick removal of the ice, snow or standing water, place a visible warning and barrier around the hazard to guard against public access.
The courts know that snow and ice are a part of life in New York. Prospective jurors in a premises liability trial are not likely to empathize with a person who ignores warnings about standing ice or snow, or who was not adequately prepared for winter conditions. Taking a slip-and-fall injury claim to court requires strong evidence that the property owners blatantly ignored the hazard and failed to take reasonable and timely action to eliminate the hazard or created the dangerous condition with poor snow removal procedures.
Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents:
- Knee injuries resulting from a twisting of the knee frequently include torn Meniscus cartilage and torn or ruptured anterior, posterior, medial and lateral ligaments in the knee
- A fractured patella (knee cap) can result from a fall directly onto the knee cap
- Fractured wrists and arms (Radial and Ulna fractures) can result from trying to break your fall with your hands
- A tri-malleolar ankle fracture is a severe fracture that usually requires a surgical open reduction and internal fixation with a plate and screws
- Fractured thigh bones (Femur) and fractured lower leg bones (Tibia and Fibula) also can result from a fall onto a hard surface
- A herniated intervertebral disc at one or more adjacent levels of the spine can result from hyper extension or twisting of the lower back and may require surgery on the lower back to remove piece(s) of the disc that extend out of the discs space between the vertebrae bones and place pressure on a nerve
- A traumatic brain injury can result from a slip and fall that results in the injury victim striking their head on the ground, causing the brain to shake violently against the inside of the skull. This type of injury is commonly referred to as a concussion which can lead to brain dysfunction with resulting memory loss, cognitive impairment, anxiety and depression.
While fractures are usually diagnosed quickly at a hospital emergency room, soft tissue injuries involving cartilage and ligaments are not usually diagnosed until the injury victim sees an orthopedic surgeon who sends them for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Surgeons frequently try to treat these kinds of injuries conservatively with physical therapy and pain and anti-inflammatory medication first. If there is a complete rupture of a ligament, immediate surgery is frequently performed to reattach the ligament.
Traumatic brain injuries can sometimes be diagnosed quickly when the patient reports severe headaches after a head trauma. However, the full extent of the brain injury usually is not known until a neuro-psychologist peforms hours of non-invasive testing that can isolate areas of brain dysfunction.
If you were seriously injured in an accident involving slippery surfaces, please contact The Maurer Law Firm to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Fishkill slip and fall lawyer.