Local Attorneys. Real Results

Are local businesses responsible for ice slips on their property?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Slip And Fall Injuries

Living in New York, especially during winter, exposes individuals to the risks of slips and falls due to accumulated snow and ice. Local governments have their own regulations about who is responsible for clearing snow and ice. For instance, Olean’s snow ordinance spells out who has the responsibility of clearing snow and ice hazards from sidewalks and other public areas.

The Olean code mandates property owners, managers or individuals in charge of buildings or lots abutting sidewalks to remove snow and ice within 24 hours after the snowfall stops. Failure to adhere to this duty may result in fines imposed by the city. However, these legal obligations raise questions about liability when injuries occur due to slips and falls on inadequately cleared sidewalks.

What if I am injured?

If you slip and fall on a sidewalk that has not been appropriately cleared, you may have the right to sue for your injuries, but proving negligence is essential. Negligence, in this context, involves demonstrating multiple factors. First, you must demonstrate that he property owner owed you a duty of care, ensuring a reasonably safe environment.

Next, you must demonstrate that the property owner breached this duty by failing to clear the snow and ice within the required timeframe. Third, you must demonstrate that the property owner’s breach directly caused your injury. And, that you suffered damages as a result of your injury, such as medical expenses, lost wages or pain and suffering.

What about possible defenses?

Despite these grounds, property owners can employ various defenses to contest liability. For example, property owners may not be liable if snow or ice was still falling or accumulating during the injury. Clearing sidewalks during a storm may be considered unreasonable.

Next, property owners might not be liable if the snow or ice resulted from natural weather conditions, not their actions or negligence. Certain property owners, like municipal entities or public authorities, may also not be liable if they did not have notice of the snow or ice condition. Finaly, if your actions contributed to the injury, it could reduce the damages you can recover based on your percentage of fault.


To protect your rights after a slip and fall, you must be vigilant. Seek medical attention promptly and keep records of bills and reports. Report the incident to the property owner, collect their information and gather witness contacts. Document the scene by taking pictures or videos and noting relevant details. And, if you do not feel like the property owner is treating you fairly, you may need to initiate a slip and fall case.