How to Avoid Slips and Falls During the Winter Months
- December 29, 2015
Snow covered steps, icy walkways, and slippery surfaces are common during the winter months in New York. Slips and falls are common due to slippery or dangerous surfaces during the winter. The most common types of injury in slip and fall cases are fractures, back injuries, head injuries, and broken tailbones. Even a mild injury from a slip and fall can cost thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages. We should always be careful when walking but especially during the winter to avoid slips and falls.
Tips You Can Use to Avoid Slips and Falls
You may not be able to control the conditions of your surrounding; however, you can take steps to prevent slip and falls during the winter.
- Focus on what is in front of you. Avoid distractions such as cell phones and other devices that take your attention off the path ahead.
- Avoid areas that are slippery when possible. Do not walk through wet leaves, over ice, or through snow banks. Take a path around these areas when possible.
- Wear the proper footwear. Your shoes or boots should have a rough, heavily textured sole to avoid slipping on wet or icy surfaces. If you are wearing dress shoes, consider carrying winter shoes to change into before going outdoors.
- Use handrails whenever possible.
- Clean your shoes immediately upon going inside to avoid creating hazardous floor conditions from melting snow and ice.
- Walk slowly—rushing increases your chance of falling.
- Be careful when getting in or out of vehicles.
- Avoid carrying items when walking on slippery surfaces. Having your arms free will help with stabilization. Use backpacks if possible to carry your items during winter months.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury accidents that occur on commercial property. Premises liability is the area of law that holds businesses accountable for maintaining a safe area for the public. A business cannot control the weather conditions; however, the law requires a business to take steps to prevent injuries to customers and visitors using the public areas on the property.
For example, a business should take steps to put down salt or sand on sidewalks and rugs inside the doors. Warning signs and/or safety cones should be placed anywhere a walking hazard might exist. Proper lighting and handrails are safety measures business should take to ensure the safety of their customers. When winter weather strikes, property owners must be vigilant and inspect the property to correct hazardous conditions as soon as they are known to the property owner.
What Should I Do if I am Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you may have a cause of action against the property under a premises liability action. If the owner failed in its duty to provide a safe environment, the owner can be held liable for your damages. The steps you should take if you are injured in a slip and fall are:
- Get medical attention. Your first priority is your health. If you are unable to move, ask someone to call 911 for emergency medical assistance. If you do not believe your injuries require emergency care, you should still see your primary physician as soon as possible. The soreness or other symptoms you experience in the days and weeks following a slip and fall may be an indication of a more serious injury. It is always wise to have a thorough medical exam after a slip and fall.
- Report the accident. Immediately report the accident to the owner or the manager. Ask for a copy of the written accident report.
- Contact information. Ask for the name and contact information of the property owner and the manager taking the report. You also need the names and contact information for any eyewitnesses to the accident.
- Preserve evidence. Take pictures of the accident scene before you leave. The owner will likely correct the problem. Save the clothes and shoes you were wearing at the time of the accident in case your attorney needs these as evidence. Take pictures of your injuries throughout the healing process.
- Do not discuss the accident with others. The insurance company for the property owner may try to contact you after the accident. It is never wise to discuss the accident, provide a statement, or sign documents until you have met with a personal injury attorney.
- Contact a personal injury attorney. Contact our office as soon as possible for a free consultation. Our attorneys want to provide support and guidance as you work to recover from your injuries. We will protect your legal rights while you focus on your health.
Experience Counts When You Are Injured
If you or a family member has been injured in a slip and fall, let Stenger, Diamond & Glass LLP help you recover the compensation you are entitled to receive from the at-fault party. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.