Winter Is High Season for Slip and Fall Accidents
Winter is the time of year when icy sidewalks and snow-covered roads are more common. As you get back into your daily routines, you might not consider that you need to be extra cautious on these surfaces. Winter is the high season for slip and fall accidents, and you should take care to avoid them! Read on for some tips to keep you safe all winter long.
Ice and Snow Contribute Most Slip and Fall Accidents
A recent study showed that the number of slip and fall accidents rises dramatically in winter and can cause serious injuries. That’s not all, the causes of slip and fall accidents are more than just an accident. They can be the result of negligence.
In Ohio, a land owner is not normally responsible for ice and snow that accumulates naturally on sidewalks, driveways, or other surfaces. The reason being, snow and ice is during the winter is a common occurrence, so we should all do our best to protect ourselves as we traverse an icy walkway, or as we enter a store with melted snow on the floor.
But just as there is no liability for natural accumulations of snow or ice, a property owners can be liable for unnatural accumulations of snow or ice. This would include downspouts that allow water to accumulate and re-freeze, causing a slick layer of black ice near an entrance, for example. Likewise, a property owner can be liable if he or she alters the property to make a walking surface more dangerous. One example is installing tile on a walk way that has less friction (i.e., become more slippery) when the tile becomes wet or when snow falls on it.
In addition, a property owner could be liable if a handrail is in disrepair, and comes loose from its anchors; if a patron relies on the handrail to traverse an icy walkway, but the handrail comes loose as the patron loses his/her footing, the property owner could be liable if the property owner knew in advance that the handrail was in poor repair.
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Tips for Staying Safe during the Winter Season
Winter can be a beautiful time of year, but it is vital to stay safe when walking around in winter conditions. Here are some tips for staying safe:
- Use handrails when walking up or downstairs
- Make sure to clear your snow and ice off of walkways before you leave in the morning. Also, be sure to salt these areas for added protection against slippery surfaces
- Take care while shoveling because this may cause you to slip on wet surfaces
- Avoid walking through puddles or other standing water. This will prevent you from stepping on ice that forms on the pavement when the temperature drops at night, or from stepping into a hole that is hidden.
- Use extra caution when walking on snow covered ground.
- Use extra caution when walking outdoors when temperatures approach freezing and/or get below freezing; you may not always be able to see the ice that forms, so you should proceed with the assumption that there is ice on the ground.
- When entering a highly trafficked building, such as a store, a church, or a school, expect that the front entrance will be wet and slippery.
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How to Proceed After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you do slip and fall, take the following steps:
1) Ensure your safety by checking for nearby threats to your fall.
2) If you can, lift yourself off of the ground and onto a nearby chair or bench.
3) If any joints such as your ankle, knee, or hip are injured, stop using these body parts so that they don’t swell and cause further pain.
4) Seek medical attention as soon as possible. It is common to be embarrassed because we all feel clumsy over a fall; but just because you are embarrassed, don’t turn away those offering help.
5) Seek out the store manager and complete an incident report. If it can’t be that day, make sure you do so as soon after the incident as possible.
6) Have someone document and photograph the area where you fell as soon as possible after the fall.
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What Help Can You Get?
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s essential to act quickly.
To ensure the negligent party pays, you would need to keep track of all injuries and how they affect your daily life. Start by writing down:
- The date of the slip and fall accident
- Where you were walking when you slipped and fell
- How long it took for your injuries to begin feeling better (if at all). This will be helpful later on in court
At Arthur Law Firm Co., LPA, our goal is simple – make sure that no one ever gets hurt; but if someone is hurt due to someone else’s negligence, to seek just compensation to make up for the injuries that were caused.
Contact us today at (419) 782-9881 and let us fight for justice on your behalf.