Jersey City, NJ asked in Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Insurance Defense and Municipal Law for New York

Q: If an individual travereses on frozen water, do they do so at their own risk?

New York State: A number of discussions on traversing on frozen water exist. The DEC discusses safety issues for recreation users like anglers. The Parks and Recreation statutes discuss the use of snowmobiles. The NYS Snowmobile association discusses training, risks, and safety measures that a snowmobiler should take when snowmobiling on frozen water to avoid falling through. I'm struggling to find an actual discussion on who actually owns the risk? For example, if a hiker or snowmobiler traverses frozen water, do they do so at their own risk? The above organizations seem to imply that anyone who ventures onto the ice accepts the risks. They are warned to test the ice thickness, stay away from open water (caused naturally or otherwise) but I can't find any statute, case law or precedent that places the burden on the individual to ensure the ice is safe. What is the home owner responsibility/liability, who own property that abuts water if, someone falls in?

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing

A: First, don't put you email up ---ask Justia to take it down.

I'm not hearing any specific facts in your situation. As a general rule a person chosing their route is responsible for it's safety. Unless there is a need to go across frozen water they would be harmed. Look at the Restatement of Torts Sec 343 and NY cases cited.As to state agencies, they are governed by the Tort Claims Act. If you have a case, contact a member of the NY State Trial Lawyers Assn.

I fyou are trying to have us do an assignment for a course, please do your own work--you won't learn research if you rely on others.

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