A building owner has no obligation to shovel until it stops snowing.
Many years ago a client called our office from the emergency room. He had fallen as he was walking on 57th Street while it was snowing and was injured. We quickly dispatched a paralegal to the scene and discovered there was no snow on the ground. Although there were flurries in the air, the snow was not sticking.
Although this man sustained a serious fracture which required surgery, we were unable to pursue a case. In sum, there is no obligation for a property owner to shovel or sand during a snow storm, especially if the snow is not sticking.
Once the snow stops falling, the building owner has the obligation to remove the snow within a reasonable time. 24 hours is widely accepted as a reasonable time in which to remove snow from the ground.
Matters quickly become more complicated when multiple snow storms strike. What caused the client to fall and be injured? The old ice? The fresh ice? A combination of the two?
Early investigation is the key to winning a snow and ice injury case. It is imperative that you contact an attorney immediately after an accident. Gathering evidence quickly can make all the difference to the success of your suit. In snow and ice cases, the evidence can literally melt away if prompt action is not taken.