Anywhere you go in New York, you’re going to find sidewalks and walkways leading into businesses. For the most part, people take care of these walkways and make sure that they are safe for people who are walking by and using them.

Unfortunately, not all business owners are as considerate as others. It is the law that business owners and homeowners have to keep their properties safe. In some localities, it is also the homeowner or business owner who has to keep walkways safe and clear.

As someone who has slipped and fallen, it is important that you understand that you have rights. It may be another party’s responsibility to cover your medical care and other financial needs stemming from this accident.

Why is a business owner or homeowner held accountable for dangerous walkways?

According to premises liability law, homeowners or business owners are responsible for maintaining safe properties. You are someone who is invited onto the property of a business to purchase or browse goods. As such, the owner owes you a duty of care. They need to make sure that walkways are not blocked, hazardous or covered in ice.

With cold weather conditions likely throughout New York, every business owner should know to keep salt or melting agents on hand. They should also be prepared with signage to indicate that the walkway may be icy or slick.

What should you do when you slip and fall on a business property?

If you slip and fall on a business’s walkway or stairs, it is important to let the owner or employees know about the accident right away. They should call an ambulance. If they do not, then you should go to the hospital or a doctor’s office right away. Doing this starts a trail of documents showing that you took your injury seriously and sought medical care for it.

The business owner should be informed that you intend to file a claim as well. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that yourself, you can contact your attorney and have them begin the claims process for you by contacting the business owner. Most business owners will have insurance for situations like yours, but even if the owner doesn’t, it’s still their responsibility to make sure your medical care, lost wages and other losses are taken care of.

Know your rights if you fall outside or inside a business. You shouldn’t have to worry about unsafe conditions.