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Forensic Meteorologist Is Go-To Guy in Slip-and-Fall Cases

Posted Feb 26, 2010 1:48 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Screen shot of weatherconsultant.com.

Bad winter weather is good business for forensic meteorologist Howard Altschule.

“Already from the attorneys in New York City I'm getting tons of calls,” says the former TV weatherman who calls himself a weather detective. Altschule talked to the New York Daily News about his work testifying in slip-and-fall cases.

New York State law gives property owners a reasonable time to correct snow and ice hazards, making the timing of the end of the snowstorm a critical question for injured pedestrians, the story says. It’s Altschule’s job to determine when a snowstorm ended in the particular location of the accident.

Courts in the state usually give homeowners four hours to clear the snow, the story says. But plaintiffs don’t necessarily lose if the accident occurs within that window. They may still have a case if the ice that caused the accident was from a previous snowfall. More difficult cases involve snow that melts and refreezes.

"I don't wish injury or damage on anybody,” Altschule told the newspaper. “But if it does happen, I hope they call me to help them out."


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