When snow falls in New York City, everything slows down. Schools close, subways get delayed, and buses might not even run. But when the snowfall ends, the shovelling starts. Removing snow from your sidewalk and walkways may be a difficult task, but it is a crucial one. In addition to making it easier for yourself to get inside, you also reduce the liability risk of injury outside of your home or business.

Who is Responsible for the Snow?

If you are a homeowner or shop-owner, you will most likely be the one responsible for your own property. You would not be responsible if: you have hired a landscaping company or or snow removal company and have a contract with them that states as such, your HOA/merchant association has contracted a snow removal deal, or if your leasee/tenant has agreed to a snow removal clause in their contract with you.

When Do You Have to Shovel?

You are generally responsible to shovel as soon as possible. While many people shovel while the snow still falls, the liability on you after the fact. Depending on the time of day, you have until a certain time before you become liable and required to have the snow cleared. If the snowfall ends between 7 AM and 5 PM, You have 4 hours to clear the snow. If the snow stops between 5 PM and 7 AM, you have 14 hours to clear it up.

What You are Responsible For

When you have to shovel, there are certain specifications in NYC for residents or landlords. If possible, a walkway that is at least 4 feet wide must be created for the sidewalk. Snow may not be placed in the street or on other public property. Snow should be piled on grassy sections of your property when possible. You may also pile it along grassy curb strips, if available. You are also responsible for clearing up any ice that accumulates on the walkways.
If there is a fire hydrant or a catch basin on or in front of your property, you should remove the snow from them. It is unlawful to keep a fire hydrant covered by the snow in case of a fire. While not against the law, it is highly advised that you clear catch basins, to allow runoff and melting snow to drain away. This is also helpful in preventing slip-and-fall accidents, as the drain can potentially help remove any water that may become ice.

If You Slip

If you or a loved one suffers from a slip and fall injury because of negligent snow/ice removal, you may want to consider taking legal action. In cases such as slip and falls, you may need to prove that the conditions were either not noticed or unavoidable. While this does not outright determine liability or fault, they can aid the case.
For over 25 years,we have been assisting people in the New York/New Jersey area with injury cases of all shapes and sizes; from Auto Accidents to Dog Bites. D’Agostino & Associates, P.C., and its affiliates do not provide legal advice by articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for legal advice. Call 1-888-245-2924 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. Bite Back with D’Agostino & Associates, P.C.