While a slip-and-fall should be of concern any time of the year, the risk is heightened in the icy winter months. While some slip-and-fall incidents are unavoidable, there are some ways to help prevent injury from occurring when walking in slippery winter conditions. Here, the personal injury specialists at Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell provide tips for preventing slips and falls this winter season.
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, which keeps record of reported injuries year-by-year, has determined that unintentional falls account for the highest level of nonfatal injuries in almost all age groups. While these slip-and-fall cases are not always weather-related, inclement weather conditions are a major contributor. This means that slip-and-falls during the winter season are a serious concern, especially to those who are older and in poorer health. Preventing a slip-and-fall can be as simple as exhibiting more caution, however, there are other preventative measures one can take to ensure they stay safe in winter weather.
Know the Weather Forecast, and Prepare Accordingly
Although winter weather can be unpredictable, it is important to be prepared for slippery conditions throughout the season. Keep tabs on the weather via radio, TV or mobile apps, and plan for your day accordingly. Consider your footwear choices before leaving the house—choose durable, slip-resistant shoes that do not have a high heel. If you must wear other, less slip-resistant footwear, pack it in a handbag or backpack, and change shoes once you reach your destination.
Consider the Way You Walk
The way you walk will greatly impact your chances of suffering a slip-and-fall. Walk slowly, and observe the ground where you intend to place your feet—”black ice” and slush can be difficult to see. Tap on areas with one foot to see if they are slippery before walking on them. Also, try to walk flat-footed, which increases your foot’s surface area and can prevent falling.
Choose Where You Are Walking
Flat, smooth surfaces are ideal for preventing a slip-and-fall, so when possible, avoid stairs, ramps, curbs or other walkways that create additional hazards. Observe crosswalk and roadway signs, which may communicate any hazards nearby. If there are no better options for walking, look for railings and hand-holds to help balance yourself. Avoid distractions while walking—your cellphone or tablet should stay in your bag until you’ve reached your destination. Also, know that the hazards do not end once you’ve reached the indoors: tile and linoleum floors can be particularly slippery when wet, so you should continue to use caution.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney if You Feel Another’s Negligence Caused Your Slip or Fall
While this will not help prevent a slip-and-fall, it will help mitigate the damage caused by one. While some slip-and-fall incidents are simple accidents, others are caused by the negligence of another. If you or a loved one suffers a slip-and-fall injury on someone else’s property, and you believe the property owner could have reasonably prevented it, it is important to contact a qualified personal injury attorney to discuss your options. The personal injury specialists at Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell want everyone to stay safe this winter—but, if you do suffer a fall, contact us immediately to see how we can help you seek the compensation you need to treat your injuries properly.