In the scenic city of Rochester, New York, the ever-changing weather, especially during the winter months, can make the simple act of walking on a sidewalk more treacherous than one might expect. If you were injured in a sidewalk accident due to dangerous sidewalk conditions, Lacy Katzen LLP is here to help. Contact a dedicated Rochester sidewalk accident lawyer from our firm for a free initial consultation today.
Sidewalk Accident Lawyer | Fighting for Trip or Slip and Fall Victims in Rochester, New York
If you recently sustained an injury in a sidewalk slip and fall accident, please don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated Rochester personal injury lawyer from our legal team today. We are here to fight for the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
Common Causes of Sidewalk Accidents
Some of the most common causes of sidewalk accidents that we see are as follows:
- Snow and Ice Accumulation: Rochester’s cold winters are notorious for frequent snowfalls. When snow accumulates and is left unattended, it can lead to slippery conditions, making sidewalks perilous.
- Poor Sidewalk Maintenance: Cracks, uneven surfaces, or potholes can trip pedestrians, leading to falls and injuries. Over time, the natural wear and tear combined with weather conditions can deteriorate sidewalk quality.
- Obstructions: Items left on sidewalks, like trash cans or bicycles, can be hazards, especially if they’re unexpected or not easily visible.
- Inadequate Lighting: Insufficient lighting can make it hard for pedestrians to see and avoid potential hazards during nighttime or cloudy days.
Determining Liability in Sidewalk Accidents
To establish liability for a sidewalk accident, the injured party will have to prove several things. They are as follows:
- The property owner or responsible entity (it could be the city, a private property owner, or a business) had a duty to maintain the sidewalk.
- This duty was breached – meaning the sidewalk was not adequately maintained.
- The breach directly led to the accident.
- The accident caused the claimed injury.
Snow and Ice Removal in Rochester
Snow and ice removal plays a pivotal role in determining liability. In New York State, there are specific laws and regulations that govern the responsibility of snow and ice removal. They are as follows:
- The “Storm in Progress” Rule: This rule implies that a property owner may not be held liable for injuries if a storm is ongoing. The logic behind this is that it’s unreasonable to expect constant clearing during an ongoing storm. However, once the storm concludes, property owners usually have a reasonable time to clear the accumulated snow and ice.
- Municipal Laws: In some areas of Rochester, local ordinances might dictate specific time frames within which snow and ice should be removed from sidewalks.
- Natural vs. Unnatural Accumulation: Property owners can sometimes be held responsible if the way they’ve altered or maintained their property causes snow or ice to accumulate unnaturally, creating hazards.
- Business Premises: Commercial properties, like stores or offices, might have a heightened duty compared to residential property owners. This is because they invite customers onto their premises and thus, have an obligation to ensure their safety.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for a sidewalk injury claim depends on whether the injury occurred on a privately owned sidewalk or a sidewalk owned by the government or a municipality. In some cases, victims may only have a few months to file a notice of claim, so it’s imperative that you speak with an attorney as soon after an accident as you can.
Contact a Sidewalk Accident Lawyer Today
Navigating the intricacies of sidewalk accidents in Rochester requires an understanding of both the city’s weather conditions and its legal nuances. While Mother Nature plays her part, property owners also have a significant responsibility in ensuring that sidewalks are safe for all pedestrians. If you or someone you know has been involved in a sidewalk accident in Rochester, contact a dedicated lawyer from Lacy Katzen LLP today so we can help you fight for the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.