Melted Snow in a Store: What are Your Rights If You Slip and Fall


Slip and fall injuries are a common occurrence with thousands of people injured every year in these types of premises liability accidents.  While some slip and falls result in just a bruise and some embarrassment, other victims may suffer serious and potentially life-altering injuries such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, or even death. 

As the Mid-Hudson Valley is just beginning to get the first round of winter snow and ice, slip and fall accidents will become more prevalent.  This includes not just on snow and ice outside, but even snow that is tracked into a store and creates a wet and slippery surface.  Thus, if you or a loved one have been injured in a Hudson slip and fall accident, it is important for you to understand your rights under the law.

The general rule is that property owners can be held liable for the failure to remove snow and ice from their premises which results in foreseeable harm to another individual.  The property owner must remove the ice or snow from the premises within a “reasonable time” after the storm that created the dangerous condition has ended.  This is known as the “storm in progress” rule.

But this general rule is not limited to solely outdoor premises.  The interior also needs to be kept safe for patrons who enter the store.  Further, the “storm in progress” rule is not applicable to conditions in the interior of the store and landowners cannot attempt to shield themselves from liability by arguing it.  Thus, owners of commercial property are legally accountable for the safety of the visitors who enter their stores, regardless of whether the storm is still in progress.

In order to maintain a slip and fall case that occurred during a store because of snow that had melted inside the store, notice must be established.  Your Hudson slip and fall attorney can prove notice in the following ways:

  • Created the dangerous condition; or
  • Was on notice of the existence of the dangerous condition and did not take action to correct it.
  • The notice can be either “actual” (knew that the snow as melted on the floor) or “constructive” (should have known that snow was melted on the floor).

There is another way to prove notice.  Even if a property owner is not aware of the melted snow, if the condition is present for an extended period of time or it is a condition that has occurred on a regular basis, the property owner will be considered to have constructive knowledge of a reoccurring condition.  Thus, they will be liable for your slip and fall accident.

There are also cases where the actions of the property condition, or his maintenance personnel, will cause the dangerous condition to worsen.  For example, the person who was responsible for mopping up the water ends up spreading it out into a larger area.  Another example is that the soap or other cleaning agents may be have been improperly mixed or used.

This is the time of year when these types of accidents are very common, with the snow starting to blanket property and owners are again faced with maintain their property to ensure the guests safety.  Most patrons who visit stores will track snow into the establishment, which will melt on the floor, creating a slippery surface. 

An experienced Hudson premises liability attorney can help successfully litigate cases that result from slip and fall accidents.  The attorneys at Greenberg and Greenberg handle cases throughout New York State, including Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Albany County.  Our legal team has earned a reputation for dedicated service to our clients injured in New York personal injury accidents.  Please contact us today to receive a free case evaluation by dialing locally to 518-828-3336 or call toll free at 877-469-9300.