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This is the time of year when pedestrians are at risk of slipping and falling on sidewalks because of the wintry precipitation. It is imperative that property owners clear the sidewalks in a timely manner so that pedestrians can remain safe. The responsibility to clear sidewalks isn't just for private property owners. Municipalities and government agencies also have a duty to ensure that the sidewalks on their property have a suitable path for people who are walking.

You can't expect a path to be clear on the sidewalks if the snow is still falling. The city has specific times for the snow and ice to be cleared. If the time limit has passed and the sidewalk is still covered, you can file a complaint.

Property owners have four hours to clear snow if it stops falling from 7:00 a.m., through 4:59 p.m., 14 hours if it stops falling from 5:00 p.m., through 8:59 p.m., and sidewalks must be cleared by 11:00 a.m., if the snowfall ends between 9:00 p.m., and 6:59 a.m.

While you have to wait for the appropriate time to elapse to file a complaint about private property, you can file a complaint at anytime if the sidewalk is in front of a police station, public school, bus stop, park and other public properties. This helps the city to know where the efforts must be focused.

If you do fall on the snow and ice on another person's or entity's property, you might choose to seek compensation. This is a legal process that is started in civil court, but there are special procedures that must be followed if you are taking action against a government entity.

Source: New York City, "Snow or Ice on Sidewalks Report," accessed Jan. 05, 2018

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