Slip & fall accidents are common all year round, but can be especially problematic when conditions are snowy or icy. Property owners are responsible for ensuring their property is clear of ice and snow, and generally safe for anyone on the property. Unfortunately, not all property owners take this initiative, which often results in slip and fall accidents.
If you fall while walking on snow or ice on someone else’s property in New York, what should you do?
Seek Medical Attention for Your Injuries
First and foremost, assess your injuries and seek medical attention, whether that means staying at the scene and calling an ambulance or heading to the nearest hospital or medical clinic on your own. Even if your injuries do not seem serious, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out any unnoticeable injuries and to document the details of your fall.
After you’ve gotten the medical attention you need, report the incident to the property owner (or manager or available staff if your fall occurs at a business). You might also need to return to the scene to take photographs of the area. In addition to the scene of the event, photos of your injuries are also important, so make sure to snap additional pictures in the hours, days, and weeks following your fall. It’s also a good idea to preserve any evidence associated with the incident, such as torn clothing or damaged personal items.
What to Do When You are Contacted by an Insurance Company
Shortly after your accident you’ll likely be contacted by an insurance company. They might seem friendly and want you to answer a few questions and record the conversation, but you need to remember they do not have your best interest in mind. The goal of the call is to hurt your case against them, so the best advice is to decline to speak to them.
One of the smartest things you can do following a slip and fall incident is to contact an attorney. He or she will “run interference” between you and the insurance companies, and can help you deal with aggressive bill collectors demanding payment for medical treatment. Your attorney helps you navigate the frustrating legal system and ensure your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve.
Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Accidents in New York
Keep in mind you have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit if you slip and fall on private property, so you’ll want to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. In New York State, the statute of limitations for negligence is three years. If your claim is filed against a local government, such as the City of New York or a local town or village, you’ll have only one year and 90 days to file your claim (and just 90 days to file Notice of Claim). Claims filed against certain public authorities must be filed within 30 to 60 days, depending on the agency. The laws regarding Statutes of Limitations can be very complicated so don’t delay in consulting with us.
If you would like more information or you need to speak to someone about a slip and fall incident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of ELAN WURTZEL, P.C.