Winter Slip & Fall Injuries and Ways to Avoid Them
What You Need to Know About Winter Slips, Trips, and Falls
Cold weather-related slip, trip, and fall accidents caused by cluttered walkways, unkept sidewalks, and slippery entryways are particularly common at residential and commercial properties this time of year. These weather-related issues remain one of the top causes of unintentional injuries that send millions of Americans and thousands of Hoosiers to emergency rooms every year. Business and residential owners, as well as state and local municipality leaders, have a responsibility to clear snow and prevent ice from building up in these walkways.
Negligence from managing covered or slick pathways can lead to both minor and major injuries to innocent passers.
It’s important to know that several Indiana communities do have city ordinances which require homeowners and businesses to clear the sidewalks, stairs, and areas in front of and adjacent to their properties within a certain time frame. To review a list of the most common questions and answers about clearing sidewalks and walkways in Indianapolis, visit the City of Indianapolis website.
5 Easy Ways to Watch Your Winter Step
While we can’t avoid every slippery surface, we can try your best by practicing simple fall prevention steps like allowing more time to walk somewhere and watching where your winter step might be landing. When you are navigating your way on potentially slippery walkways be sure to:
- Avoid carrying small children, heavy loads, and items that may block your view.
- Slow down, bend your knees a bit, and take shorter steps.
- Do not ever run or exercise on ice.
- Wear shoes or boots with good traction and treads.
- Follow signage and find the safest route and place your full attention on it. This means to refrain from being distracted by your cell phone while walking.
If you find yourself beginning to slip, try your best to not put all the pressure on your hands to break your fall. Wrist fractures are the most common injury seen by medical professionals during winter months. Here are a few other common injuries caused by slick walkway conditions:
- Back, neck and shoulder injuries
- Concussions or other brain injuries
- Dislocations of joints
- Muscle strains
- Severe cuts and bruises
- Twisted or broken ankles
- Wrist and hand fractures
In addition, slip, trip, and fall accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). TBI is a major cause of death and disability for 1.7 million people living in the United States. This life-changing injury also contributes to about 30 percent of all injury deaths, leaving victims’ families with feelings of grief and emotional stress, and financial burdens. The warning signs of a brain injury can vary from person to person and are dependent upon the severity. Here are distinct symptoms to look for:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty thinking or speaking
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of consciousness for any amount of time
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Slurred speech
Proving the effects of these injuries in court can often be difficult, so it is important to receive medical help as soon as you have been injured or suspect a slip, trip, or fall-related injury.
If you do see an unsafe, icy condition let the responsible party know immediately to prevent others from falling and injuring themselves. If you are the person responsible for the prevention and removal of ice on a property, continue to manage icy areas to prevent falls and injuries that could ultimately wreak havoc onto others.
Contact a Wagner Reese Slip, Trip, and Fall Attorney Today
Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your premises liability or slip and fall accident claim with years of experience and proven results and over 60 years of combined experience. We handle cases involving landlords, businesses, and property owners that have caused an injury due to negligence may be in violation of housing codes, local ordinances, or national safety standards that have resulted in injuries. In the case of TBI, we utilize our specialized neuropsychological testing facilities to identify and treat brain injuries and gather the evidence we need to secure the largest amount of compensation possible.
If you would like legal advice after a slip, trip, or fall winter accident, call us at (888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation. You can also share additional details with us by submitting our online form.