Tips on Avoiding Slip and Fall Injuries in Winter
During the winter, it is important for people to exercise caution when walking and to be alert for icy patches. Snow and ice on sidewalks, roads and in other areas such as parking lots increase the number of slip and fall accidents during the winter months. The National Safety Council reports that falls account for an estimated 8.9 million emergency room visits each year.
Falls are one of the leading causes of accidental deaths in home and community settings. In the winter, many falls can be attributed to property owners failing to keep their properties free of potential hazards to visitors and guests.
Prevention Is the Key to Avoiding Injury
Prevention is the key to avoid being injured in a slip and fall accident. Knowing the risks and taking steps to keep yourself and those you love out of harm’s way is one of the most effective ways you can avoid the risk of suffering a slip and fall injury in the winter.
Here are some simple tips that you can use to help you and your family stay safe:
- Never walk around outside with your hands in your pockets, particularly during cold winter months. Wear gloves if you want to keep your hands warm. By keeping your hands free, you will be able to help brace yourself or break your fall if you should suddenly slip on a wet or frozen surface.
- Always wear the proper shoes. Wearing leather-soled shoes or heels is dangerous, and these shoes can lead to an injury if you are trying to navigate an icy sidewalk or parking lot. Boots with rubber soles improve traction. Carry your more fashionable shoes with you and put them on when you arrive at your destination.
- If the footing is questionable, test the ground in front of you before venturing ahead. Ice and slippery surfaces are not necessarily easy to identify. If you think an area may be slippery, check the walking surface before you step on it. Testing the area without using the full weight of your body is a good way to determine if the area is unsafe for walking due to ice under snow.
- Try to avoid carrying heavy loads when travelling over areas packed with ice or snow. These areas are slippery, and you increase your risk of injury if you are trying to balance heavy packages, bags or other items.
- Never run across wet, icy or snow-filled surfaces. Choose your steps carefully and proceed slowly and with caution.
- Use handrails, walls, door handles and other secure objects to brace yourself when stepping onto an icy or snowy surface. This can help you avoid the risk of having your feet slide out from under you.
It is also important to be aware that elderly people are at higher risk of sustaining serious or fatal injuries in a slip and fall accident. If you are older, do not be afraid to ask for help. For those with elderly friends and relatives, offer them a hand or arm to hold.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident
Property owners, homeowners and business owners all have a legal obligation to maintain their properties so visitors and guests are not unnecessarily put in harm’s way. Removing potential risks and eliminating known hazards are a vital part of keeping people safe from injury. During the winter months, this often involves shoveling snow off of driveways, salting down roads and clearing a safe path down sidewalks or other walkways. Quickly mopping up any water in entryways can help visitors or guests avoid slipping when entering a building. Warnings should be placed to alert people to any wet or slippery walking surface.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be eligible to file a claim against the property owner or other individual responsible for maintaining the area where you fell. A slip and fall attorney at our firm will be happy to sit down with you, review your accident and advise you of your legal options. Call Becker Law Office now to schedule a free consultation.
- National Safety Council: http://www.nsc.org/safety_home/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/Pages/Falls.aspx