Q: I own a retail business on a busy street. Last year was a very icy winter and while I tried to keep the sidewalk and the path to the door clear, the town did not do a particularly good job at shoveling the sidewalk in front of my store. In anticipation of the cold months this year, I wanted to know if I could be held I liable if someone slips and gets hurt in front of the store.
A: Generally, although the town probably owns the sidewalk in front of your business, county and town laws typically transfer the responsibility to maintain that sidewalk to the owner and/or occupant of the adjacent property. In other words, as the owner or tenant of the building your store is in, you would be ultimately responsible for removing snow and ice from the sidewalk directly in front of your store. However, you mentioned that the town did a poor job of clearing the snow and ice. This could mean that the town actually created a dangerous condition on the sidewalk. If so, you and the town could both be held liable if someone slip and falls. If you have any additional questions or concerns about slip and fall matters, you should contact a personal injury attorney.
Michael A. Serpico is an Associate in the Personal Injury practice in the Garden City office of Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. located in Long Island, NY. Mr. Serpico has significant experience in state and federal civil litigation from intake to appeal and has also secured numerous successful appellate decisions.
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