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How Long Do Property Owners Have To Clear Snowy Sidewalks?

New Yorkers are walkers. We walk to the subway or bus, we walk to work, we walk to the gym-we walk pretty much everywhere we go. But when winter weather hits, walking can turn dangerous if property owners fail to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice. Some property owners take care if it right away. But then there are others who do it halfway, or maybe don't even do it at all. So how long do property owners typically have to clear snow and ice before the mess becomes an official liability in the case of a slip-and-fall accident?

Wait until the snow stops falling

According to the City of New York, as long as snow is still falling, private property owners don't yet have an obligation to clear their sidewalks. But once the snow stops falling, that's when the clock starts. When the clock stops depends on what time the snow stopped falling.

  • 4 Hours to clear snow. This applies if the snow stopped falling between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • 14 hours to clear snow. This applies if the snow stopped falling between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
  • The next morning. If the snow stopped falling between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., the snow must be cleared by 11 a.m.

What happens if property owners miss the deadline?

If a property owner doesn't make the deadline to clear snow from their property, then anyone can file a complaint and the property owner may receive a summons. For public property, however--for example, outside schools or on a public library staircase--anyone can file a complaint at any time.

Sometimes people slip and fall before anyone has a chance to make a complaint. These accidents can be severe, and can cause fractures and head injuries, which can require long and expensive recovery times. If this has happened to you or a loved one in New York, make sure to contact an aggressive personal injury attorney who can protect your rights and seek the maximum possible compensation.

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