Winter has its good side; winter sports, snowball fights, and Christmas. But it also has a bad side that includes slips & fall accidents, the risk of hypothermia, and frostbite.
Of all the ugly sides of winter, ice slip and falls are the most prevalent, resulting in serious injuries and death. According to CDC statistics, approximately 1 million Americans suffer injuries from ice slip and fall accidents, with 17,000 of them resulting in death, every year.
Common Injuries and Susceptible Groups
Common injuries resulting from these accidents include sprains and strains, spinal cord injuries, fractured bones, cuts and bruises, and traumatic brain injuries. The risks of a fall in icy conditions can vary widely depending on a person’s age, with the elderly and pregnant women being at the highest risk.
The severity of injuries in older adults results from an impaired musculoskeletal function through degradation that comes with aging. In other words, the elderly have bones that are more brittle, making them more susceptible to fractures in the event of a slip and fall accident.
Additionally, the prevalence of accidents in this age group may result from diminishing motor skills that make it harder for them to catch their balance to avoid or reduce the impact of the fall. Pregnant women also experience problems catching balance due to the weight gained and other physical changes from pregnancy, resulting in major injuries and possible miscarriage.
You May Be Eligible for Compensation
Victims of icy surface slip and fall accidents may be eligible for compensation depending on where an accident happened. For example, if you are involved in a slip and fall accident at an establishment’s icy parking lot or pavement, you may have a right to sue for damages depending on the circumstances of your fall.
Different states have varying approaches to slip and falls in icy conditions. However, all states have set standards of reasonable care that establishment owners and landlords must provide to any person coming onto their premises legally. If a failure to fulfill the duty of care results in an accident, the establishment is liable for damages suffered.
What to Do After an Ice Slip And Falls Accident
After an accident, your health is what you need to worry about first. If your injuries are severe, call 911; if not, you can see an ER specialist on your schedule to rule out the possibility of injuries that may not be physically identifiable.
Additionally, it is good to document the accident scene by taking photos or video. If there are witnesses around at the time of the accident, ask if they can offer a statement, collect their contact details and ensure that you report the incident to the establishment’s management.
The establishment or its insurer will most likely put up a fight in an attempt to deny your claim or lower its value. Sometimes they will even call to offer an unsolicited payout. “It is unwise to accept a settlement offer from the at-fault party or their lawyer without legal representation,” says Bryan Neiderhiser of the Marcus & Mack law firm.
Taking their offer will mean signing away your right to fair compensation. However, leaving settlement negotiations to your lawyer can help ensure you get a failed deal.