Here at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, we are passionate about personal injury law and guiding our clients through the legal process. We are not scientists. However, we often encounter science in our cases, requiring us to do some research or consult with an expert. One neat fact that we consistently deal with in our cases involves icy slip and falls and the role that salt can play in removing ice from a sidewalk.

How Does Salt Melt Ice?

When salt is added to water, a chemical reaction occurs that changes the freezing point of water. Water usually freezes at 32 degrees. However, with the right quantity of salt, the freezing point can drop to as a low as 2 degrees.

Salt is crucial during the winter time for two reasons. First, it can help prevent ice from forming. That’s why New York City sends out giant trucks before snow storms to spray salt all over the roads. When the snow hits the pavement, instead of accumulating, it quickly melts. The salt will also work with freezing rain and sleet to prevent ice.

Second, salt can melt ice that has already formed. If a property owner did not salt his sidewalk in advance of a storm and ice forms, he can combat this ice by pouring salt. The salt will interact with the ice, causing it to rapidly melt.

Here is a fun experiment you can try with your children to demonstrate salt’s amazing melting power: Place a glass of water in your freezer. As ice begins to form in the glass, remove it and pour regular table salt into the glass. Watch as the ice quickly melts!

What to Do if You Slip on an Icy Sidewalk

Unfortunately, not all property owners are proactive about salting their sidewalks during or after a storm. This can lead to painful slip and fall accidents, harming unsuspecting visitors. Property owners are responsible for taking reasonable steps to remove ice after learning of its existence. In New York, actual notice is not required; rather, the plaintiff must show that the property owner should have known of the ice.

In fact, Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP represented a client in Long Island City who was delivering an item to the property owner. The client slipped on an ice patch, sustaining serious injuries to his head, neck, shoulders, and arm. The property owner claimed it had no notice of the ice, but our skilled New York Personal Injury Attorney was able to demonstrate to the jury that ice had formed in the parking lot the day prior and the property owner would have discovered the ice had it performed an inspection of the lot. We were able to secure a $1.75M verdict for our client.

Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation

If you or a loved one was injured in a slip and fall due to icy conditions, our New York slip and fall lawyers will evaluate your incident to determine if you have a claim. To schedule a free consultation with us today, call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353.