February 6, 2023
Winter Slip and Fall Accidents
The winter months are upon us, and with them comes an increased risk of slip and fall accidents. They could happen anywhere: at the workplace, going to the store, even out on your own front steps. With snow, ice and freezing conditions accumulating all around us, particularly in Pennsylvania, it is important to always be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
A slip and fall accident can lead to a myriad of injuries, including broken bones, sprains, head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and more. There is also a risk of serious injuries that could require surgery or rehabilitation. If the pain is severe, does not go away, or if swelling occurs, it is best to have a doctor assess the injury.
How Do I Prevent a Slip and Fall Injury?
Proper preparation and awareness are key in preventing a slip and fall injury.
- Be aware of the path six or more feet in front of you of any tripping hazards, such as rocks, snow, ice, or branches.
- Be cautious when getting out of your vehicle and try to park in a clear area free of snow and ice so you can get out safely.
- Do not carry items that reduce your view of the ground in front of you.
- Give yourself extra time to get to where you need to go by planning ahead.
- Hold onto your car when exiting or entering the car, especially if you parked on a potentially slick area.
- On snowy and icy days, stay inside if you do not need to urgently go anywhere.
- Use handrails whenever available.
- Walk slower than you normally would when navigating slick surfaces.
- Wear footwear that has slip-resistant soles, which help reduce your chance of slipping in slippery conditions.
- When approaching a possibly slick area, like black ice, tap your foot on the surface to see if it is safe to walk on.
- When entering a building, remove as much snow and water as possible from your shoes by wiping them on a mat.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 1 million adults are injured every year by a slip or fall. This injury rate significantly increases when the temperatures drop. Furthermore, the CDC also reports that over 1.7 million people suffer brain injuries every year, many of which are caused by slip and fall accidents and wintery weather.
Who is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Many of the country’s slip and fall accidents occur in parking lots, sidewalks, or commercial areas. Should a slip and fall accident occur, it is common to wonder who is liable for the injuries. It is easy to point the finger at the property owner but slip and fall accidents are generally more complex than that. The property owner, who is in charge of plowing snow and applying salt to melt ice onto travelled surfaces, has a duty of care to maintain their property and keep it free of hazards.
Those traversing onto the property have to exercise their own reasonable care when they are knowingly walking onto an icy or snowy surface.
- Reasonable maintenance: What is reasonable for a property owner to remove in terms of snow and ice and what a person walking on their property should reasonably expect may depend on the location where the accident occurred. This means that what is reasonable in a northeastern state in Pennsylvania is different than what is reasonable in the south.
- Natural accumulation: Some states have a “natural accumulation” rule, which generally states that a property owner is not liable as long as they did not interfere with or cause an abnormal danger using the natural accumulation of ice and snow.
- Recovering damages: If you are able to prove that a property owner or a contractor who was responsible for clearing the snow is liable for your injury, then you may be able to recover medical costs and lost work wages, given that you can prove that the injury you suffered caused you to miss work. You may also be able to recover pain and suffering damages if the injury adversely impacted your daily life.
- Document everything: As soon as your accident happens, document everything including the location and the weather conditions. Snow and ice are cleared on a regular schedule, so get photographs of the conditions when the accident happened. Gather as much evidence as you can of the incident, including witness statements.
Montgomery County Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Help Injured Victims Recover Compensation
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, then you will need the best legal guidance on your side. Call the Montgomery County slip and fall accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. right away. Our team has years of experience and can help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us today at 267-861-7100 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. From our offices located in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve all clients of Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Norristown.