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How fast does snow have to be cleared in New York City?

Obviously, property owners can't clear snow instantly. If a storm sweeps in while someone is at work or asleep, it's unreasonable to expect them to take action right away.

That said, a lot of slip-and-fall-accidents are caused by snow and ice that has not be promptly removed. As such, the city has clear regulations about when snow must be removed. It all depends when it stops falling. The two basic rules are as follows:

  • If snowfall ends between 5:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m., the snow has to be removed within the next 14 hours.
  • If snowfall ends between 7:00 a.m. and 4:49 p.m., it must be cleared away in the next four hours.

The city also provides two examples to clarify their policies. For instance, perhaps it snowed all day and stopped at 7:00 p.m. If so, the person responsible then has until 9:00 in the morning to shovel and clear snow and ice. If the snow stops falling at 9:00 in the evening or at 6:59 a.m. the next day, the business owner, homeowner or person otherwise tasked with snow removal duty has until 11:00 a.m. the following day to clear it from the path, sidewalk, etc.

The person who is responsible for these duties varies from one property to the next. It may be a homeowner, business owner, property manager or landlord. In some cases, those who lease properties agree to a snow removal clause included in the lease, which makes them the responsible parties. Generally, it's important to act as quickly as possible within these guidelines.

Wondering if you have a right to compensation after a slip- and-fall accident? If the snow accumulated and was ignored for longer than regulations allow, you may have a viable case.

Source: NYC.gov, "Snow Removal: Your Responsibilities," accessed Dec. 21, 2017

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