New York Slip and Fall Attorney

This video features Michele S. Mirman, a Medical Malpractice attorney based in New York.

What to Do If You Slip on Ice

Video Transcript:

Michele Mirman: 

Falls are the number one cause of the most serious accidents, injuries, and deaths worldwide.

Rob Rosenthal: 

So if you slip, and fall, on the snow, in the ice and you're injured on someone else's property, could you have a case to sue and how do you get help? Well we're gonna answer all those questions and more right now, because that's what we're going to Ask the lawyer on this episode. Hi again, everybody. I'm Rob Rosenthal, with askthelawyers.com. My guest is New York City Attorney, Michele Mirman. I wanna remind you right off the top, if you'd like to ask Michele questions about your situation, go to askthelawyers.com, click the button at the upper right-hand part of the page that says "Ask a Lawyer" and it'll walk you right through the process or you can just call the phone number that's on the screen when we're talking to Michele. Michele, it's always good to see you, thank you for helping us out.

Michele Mirman: 

Good to see you too, Rob.

Rob Rosenthal: 

I'm gonna guess this time of year in New York City, snow, ice, dangerous sidewalks, steps, that sort of thing; is this a big problem this time of year there?

Michele Mirman: 

Well, we've been lucky so far. The weather has been mild, but yes, as winter approaches and we start getting snow storms, snow, and ice that's left on the sidewalk is a huge problem. It causes a lot of injuries and unfortunately, deaths, to people who do fall.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Wow, well, that was gonna be one of my questions. How serious can these injuries be?

Michele Mirman: 

Very serious. Actually, according to the Center for Disease Control, falls are the number one cause of the most serious accidents, injuries, and deaths, worldwide.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Wow, I had no idea. I would assume part of the problem is if you can have, anytime you can... You hit your head, that can be very serious results, and I'm assuming a lot of times that can be a problem here?

Michele Mirman: 

Correct, correct. And with older people, older people who sustain severe fractures, hip fractures, for example, that disable them and lay them up for a while, also result in death because they are not mobile for too long a period of time.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Where are the most common areas that we see these sort of slip and fall injuries, is it mostly sidewalks? Where else might we see them?

Michele Mirman: 

Definitely sidewalks. In New York City, the five boroughs, we have our own rules issued by the government, rules and regulations regarding cleaning up the sidewalks. Property owners, not the city is responsible for cleaning up their own sidewalks. There are time limits for doing it, the paths have to be so wide, they have to be four feet wide, the sidewalks have to be cleaned if there's a snow fall between 9:00 PM and 7:00 AM, by 11 o'clock the next morning. And unfortunately, a lot of owners do not live up to their responsibilities.

Rob Rosenthal: 

It would seem to mean, in New York City it might also be a problem that there's a lot of absentee owners, does that make things more difficult?

Michele Mirman: 

Absolutely, it makes things more difficult. But many times, if there is an absentee owner, the obligation to clean the sidewalk falls on the tenant, there may be an agreement or a lease that requires the tenant, especially with stores, to take care of their sidewalks.

Rob Rosenthal: 

What are some rules of thumbs or tips, something people should know, to maybe help them know whether they have a case or not, Michele?

Michele Mirman: 

Well, if you fall during a snow storm, you're really not gonna have a case because the law in New York City, the five boroughs allows owners or the leases, lessee's who are maintaining the property until the snow stops, at a certain number of hours afterwards. However, of course, as with everything in the law, there are exceptions. An exception could be, for example, if there's a snow storm previously, the owner doesn't clean it up or fails to clean it up properly and there's ice under new snow, and someone slips on that underlying ice, you may indeed have a lawsuit.

Rob Rosenthal: 

And how important is it to, [a] document the area and the scene, and [b] to get someone like yourself to help them as quickly as possible. It would seem to me, the weather can change and that could really change whether you're able to get any evidence of a wrong doing.

Michele Mirman: 

Well, absolutely, you're 100% right Rob. Most of us don't think of it, we have an accident, we fall, we hurt ourselves, we call 911 or somebody who sees the accident does. But it's critical to get that documentation, and in this case, photographs of what the snow looks like, the ice looks like, get the names of any witnesses, their telephone numbers, and of course, call 911, make sure that ambulance comes so that you can get whatever injuries you've sustained taken care of immediately. The fact of the matter is that the ambulance will also create a record of the date, the time and the place where they picked you up, so that there'll never be any guessing about what time your accident happened or where?

Rob Rosenthal: 

Some people, I think maybe the public in general, sometimes Michele, they have a misperception about these kind of cases that they think, oh, this is an example of a frivolous lawsuit, what do you say to that?

Michele Mirman: 

Let me put it to you this way, Rob, if you're in a car accident, you're standing in a light and you're hitting the rear and somebody's caused major damage to your car, would you have any problem with bringing a lawsuit to recover whatever cost you had in getting your car repaired? And I do say the answer is "no".

Rob Rosenthal: 

Right.

Michele Mirman: 

You'll walk up to the person who caused the accident, you'll hand in the bill, you expect to be paid. Well, if somebody has an obligation to take care of the sidewalk under the law and the law in New York City is very, very clear. You live in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens; any part of the city. You own property, you must clear the sidewalk of snow within certain hours. If you don't, and a person is hurt severely, goes to the hospital, has injuries, fractures, scarring, hospitalization. Isn't that the same as having a bill that the other person is required to pay? It's part of our law. It's not an eye for an eye justice anymore, if you have an injury, if you've suffered something at the hand of a wrong doer, that wrong doer under the law is required to pay what damages you may have suffered. And of course, the benefit is, is that we're not thrown onto the public care. The person who causes an injury pays for it. And again, if you've had a serious injury, if your life has been altered, if you have permanent damages, certainly you should have the right to recover and get recompense for the problems that you've had.

Rob Rosenthal: 

Well-put, Michele, as always, thank you for making some time to help us out this time.

Michele Mirman: 

Thank you, too, Rob, It's good to see you.

Rob Rosenthal: 

You as well. That's gonna do it for this episode of "Ask the lawyer". My guest has been New York City Attorney Michele Mirman. I remind you, if you'd like to ask Michele questions about your situation, it's easy, go to askthelawyers.com, the upper right-hand part of the page, that says "Ask a Lawyer", click on that and it'll walk you through the very simple process. Thanks for watching, I'm Rob Rosenthal with Ask the Lawyers".

Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.


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