Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Winter weather could increase the risk of slip-and-falls

Once the temperature starts to drop, many aspects of your daily life change. When it's cold or snowing, the roads can become more dangerous. You need to drive less and more slowly when you do need to travel. After snowfall, ice or even freezing rain, there are many other dangers that could result in an injury, including slippery sidewalks, parking lots and store floors.

During the winter, businesses should maintain safe facilities for patrons and employees. Generally, this means removing snow that accumulates in a storm, de-icing sidewalks, walkways and parking lots and ensuring that entrances and walking areas are dry and free of obstruction. Failing to do so could put visitors at risk of a serious slip-and-fall accident, which can have devastating consequences for the victim of the accident.

Slip-and-fall accidents are more serious than you think

Most people think of a slip-and-fall as a source of humor in cartoons and slapstick comedies. Contrary to how they're depicted in stories, however, slip-and-fall accidents can cause a lot more than a sore bottom and bruised ego. In fact, they can result in permanent injuries, disability and death. Some of the more common injuries associated with falls include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and even spinal cord injuries.

More than a million people every year need to seek emergency medical treatment following a slip-and-fall incident. Some of these people end up needing hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy and other expensive treatment. The business where the fall occurred may end up liable for those damages and other losses, such as lost wages. In order to prevent against this very common form of premises liability, most business maintain an insurance policy.

Slip-and-fall victims should always report the incident

Far too many people try to shrug off a slip-and-fall accident. They may get up and walk away, worried about who saw what happened to them. That could ruin their ability to file an insurance claim at a later time.

Some conditions, like brain injuries, can take days or even weeks to fully manifest symptoms. The best practice is always to report a slip-and-fall to the manager on duty or owner of a business as soon as possible.

If you lose consciousness or black out for even a second, you should seek immediate medical attention, even if you have no other serious symptoms. Any loss of consciousness could be the result of a brain injury, and early intervention can help prevent some symptoms associated with your injury.

It is important to have medical records that confirm you sustained injuries as the result of the slip-and-fall incident. Those records will help if you need to make an insurance claim or pursue a personal injury lawsuit in the future.

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