Across the United States, slips and falls are the cause of 300,000 serious injuries and 20,000 deaths a year. The percentage of these cases is slightly higher in areas with severe winter weather. They account for more than 15% of accidental deaths, which makes these types of accidents second to only vehicle fatalities.
Most people have seen someone or know someone who’s taken a nasty spill on the slippery winter ground. You may have even been the victim of it yourself. These cases can occur almost anywhere, including indoors, where tracked-in, blown-in or leaked-in precipitation can cause wet, slippery surfaces. However, parking lots are the most common site of slips, trips, and falls, followed by wood decks, cement or slate stairs, stone or brick walkways, and other areas open to snow, ice, and heavy traffic.
In total, slip and fall cases account for 64% of all winter weather injury claims and making up 29% of all worker’s compensation claims filed over the course of the season.
To prevent this type of common incident, it is important to recognize potentially dangerous situations that could result in an injury. Following these winter safety tips can help ensure your safety as you get around in snowy and icy conditions:
Walk slowly and carefully. Wear shoes that have good traction, avoid visible icy or wet areas, and step carefully.
Use extra care when getting in and out of vehicles. Look before you step to be sure there is no visibly slick surface, utilizing the vehicle for support if needed.
Watch out for slippery floors when entering a building or home.
Avoid having your hands full. Carrying groceries or walking with your hands inside of pockets can compromise your balance and ability to catch yourself if you take a fall. Try and use a backpack if you know you’re going to need to carry something during your travels.
Watch out for black ice. Although there is no certain way to know whether or not there is black ice present, if the weather is cold enough for snow then it’s cold enough for unexpected ice. Tap your foot on potentially slick areas before walking to check before proceeding.
Avoid uneven surfaces, steps, and curbs. Walk only on designated walking paths, those known high-traffic areas are most likely to have been pre-treated.
Report it! If you notice inadequate lighting, damaged or uneven surfaces, or untreated walking paths in public areas -- report it immediately to the business or local authorities.
Remember, Ice and Snow means “take it slow”.
We want you to be safe out there, but sometimes accidents happen. When they do, we’ll be there to guide you through every step of the legal process, and we’ll advocate to get you the compensation you deserve. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, contact our experienced team of personal injury attorneys for a free consultation online or by phone at (267) 214-8608.