Many slip trip-and-fall accidents on ice are caused by snow melting and the subsequent refreezing of runoff water when temperatures drop again. Property owners should also be mindful of ice that forms due to water leaking from gutters, pipes, overhangs, and even large icicles melting.
For example, in Knight v. Sawyer, 306 A.D.2d 849, 849, 762 N.Y.S.2d 458, 459 (2003), the Plaintiff submitted evidence that ice regularly formed on the stairway as the result of a leak in the roof and the absence of gutters in the front of the house, and that defendant had actual knowledge of that condition but took no steps to remedy it.
The Court concluded that plaintiff raised a triable issue of fact by presenting "evidence that an ongoing and recurring dangerous condition existed in the area of the accident which was routinely left unaddressed by the landlord."
See also previous blog about snow-related slip and fall cases settled where one of the possibilities raised in that story was that runoff from the snowbank that formed near the curb made it on to the sidewalk and then refroze. As a result, it created a sheet of ice that caused the woman to lose her footing and fall, suffering serious injuries in the process.
Municiplalities also owe a duty to keep public sidewalks in reasonably safe condition, and failure to repair defective condition, of which it has notice, either actual or constructive, will cast municipality in liability for damages to person injured thereby. D'Ambrosio v. City of New York, 1982, 55 N.Y.2d 454, 450 N.Y.S.2d 149, 435 N.E.2d 366. N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law § 50-g (McKinney). Trip-and-fall accidents occur all the time on sidewalks.