Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Can I sue if I slip and fall on ice or snow in New Haven?

With three nor'easters that have already swept across the northeast over the past few months, most of us can't wait for the snow to disappear. While most of us would like to put away our shovels for the year, the City of New Haven warns that we can't.

According to City Ordinance Sec. 27-9, all snow, ice or sleet must be removed from all pedestrian sidewalks within 24 hours of it accumulating. If it's not, then the city has a right to assess fines at a daily rate of $250.

Even if the city didn't have such a statute in place, most would likely want to continue cleaning off the sidewalk in front of our homes or businesses because of a risk of being sued if we didn't.

That's right. If you fall on someone's poorly maintained sidewalk in New Haven, then you can hold the property owner financially liable for any injuries you suffer. To do so, you must be able to prove that a property owner was aware of a potentially hazardous situation, yet did nothing to try to remedy the situation.

A slip and fall that occurs on a sidewalk in the midst of a snowfall or immediately thereafter would generally not allow you to file a negligence lawsuit. However, in situation like New Haven's, where there's an ordinance in place requiring residents to either salt their sidewalks to melt ice or to shovel accumulated snow within 24 hours, it may be possible to sue.

Seeking immediate medical treatment after you suffer a slip and fall on an icy or snowy patch is important. Taking photographs of the poorly maintained area is also important.

If you'be been injured in a slip-and-fall incident on someone else's property, then a New Haven attorney can advise you of your right to file an injury lawsuit in your own case.

Source: Western National Insurance, "If someone slips on an icy sidewalk in front of my home or my business, am I liable?," accessed March 16, 2018

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