New York City requires that the adjoining property owner keep the public sidewalk clear of snow and ice.
Be aware of the following:
- The property owner does not have to shovel until the storm stops.
- Once the storm stops, the owner is given a reasonable amount of time to clear the sidewalk. For example, if the storm stops at 3 am, and the victim falls at 3 pm, the owner had more than enough time to shovel a path. However, if the victim fell at 3:30 am, a mere half hour after the storm’s end, it would be unreasonable to expect that the owner would shovel in the middle of the night.
- Although the owner of the adjoining premises is obligated to shovel, the law creates certain exemptions to liability. For example, an owner of an one-, two-, or three-family home who lives in the building will not be held liable. However, if the owner did a negligent job of shoveling, he can be held liable.
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.