Another harsh winter is well underway in Pennsylvania and there are multiple dangers associated with the season’s weather conditions. Ice, snow, and wind are all culprits of accidents and injuries that can be truly devastating. In addition to taking precautions on the roadways, it’s crucial that we also protect ourselves while walking down the street, in parking lots, and on steps. Slips and falls can cause neck and spinal injuries, broken bones, concussions, and internal bleeding. If you or a loved one experiences an injury like this, contacting a slip and fall attorney will help you obtain the compensation you deserve from the liable party.
How to Prevent Slip and Fall Injuries
Though property owners are responsible for clearing ice and snow, it’s still important to take precautions in order to avoid accidents. It may be difficult to obtain compensation for injuries if the victim did not take reasonable measures to avoid the incident.
Footwear—Purchase a pair of boots for the winter that have spikes on the soles in order to create friction. This will decrease your risk of slipping and falling due to ice and snow. It’s smart to invest in a pair of high-quality boots that will last you multiple winters, especially in Pennsylvania where winter weather can occur from basically October through April. Never walk in heels, flats, or any other impractical shoe on top of snow and ice as this sharply increases your risk of injury and may be used against you if you attempt to make a claim.
Walk carefully—In dangerous winter conditions, people are expected to act reasonably to avoid injury. Do not rush when walking on snow or ice as this will increase your risk of a slip and fall. Provide yourself ample time to commute during the winter, whether it be by car or on foot. It will be difficult to make a claim if you choose to run down a dangerous sidewalk and incur an injury due to a fall.
Support yourself—If available, use structures like handrails to support yourself while walking. If possible, park near structures that will make it easier for you to safely exit your vehicle and avoid parking directly near ice.
Don’t travel alone—If you are at a higher risk for slips and falls, do not travel alone during the winter whenever possible. Having a loved one that can assist you in commuting safely will help prevent an accident from occurring, and if one does happen, they will be there to call for help and get you to safety.
Play safely—Do not allow children to run around on unsafe street and sidewalks. Inform your kids about proper footwear and the precautions they need to take during slippery weather conditions. If your child is going sledding or playing in the snow, be sure they are accompanied by an adult that can direct them away from danger and assist them if they become hurt.
Laws and Regulations about Slips and Falls
Carefully review these laws and contingencies in order to better understand when action can be taken after a fall.
Property owners are expected to remove ice and snow from their land in order to prevent harm to others. According to the Hills and Ridges Doctrine, if a person suffers an injury on another’s property, they must prove the following in order to make a claim:
- The property’s conditions were dangerous due to an accumulation of ice and/or snow.
- The property owner was aware of or should have reasonably been aware of the dangerous accumulation.
- The dangerous conditions directly caused your slip and fall and your subsequent injuries.
Property owners are not required to keep their land completely free of ice and snow at all times. The fall must have been caused by an unreasonable accumulation that a negligent property owner was or should have been aware of.
How to Obtain Compensation with the Help of a Slip and Fall Attorney
Even after taking proper precautions, you or a loved may become injured due to a slip and fall. If this happens, take the following steps and contact a trustworthy slip and fall attorney.
Take photos—Before leaving the scene of the fall, take multiple pictures of the area. Having visual evidence that supports your case will help build your narrative’s credibility. The variability of Pennsylvania weather means that ice and snow that was once present may melt by the next day, so be sure to take photos at various angles.
Record events—Write down a recollection of the event as soon as possible while the details are fresh in your memory. You want to be sure to have a comprehensive account of the incident. Write down what you were doing before the fall occurred, how the fall was caused, and what injuries you incurred because of it. Be sure to detail the precautions you took in order to prevent the fall to prove that the accident was not caused by any fault of your own. Also, collect witness testimony from bystanders and take down their names and contact information in case you or your slip and fall attorney have any follow up questions.
Get medical treatment—After a slip and fall, contact an ambulance if necessary or have a loved one drive you to the hospital in order to seek medical treatment. Not only do you need to have your injuries examined and treated by a professional to avoid any further distress to your body, but it’s crucial to have medical records that back up your claim. Be forthcoming with your doctor about all the pain you are experiencing so they can provide the proper treatment. Keep copies of your medical records and bills in order to use them in your case against the liable party.
Record lost wages—Injuries from a slip and fall may put you out of work for a prolonged period of time. Be sure to record each day you missed work due to your injuries and record the wages you lost due to your absence. This record will come into play when determining the amount of compensation you are owed.
Pain and suffering—A slip and fall may cause more than physical harm. If you suffer from psychological difficulties, significant lifestyle changes, or any other forms of pain and suffering, be sure to keep a record as this will also help determine your compensation from the liable party.
Contact a Trusted Slip and Fall Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a slip and fall, an experienced slip and fall attorney will help you build a case against the negligent party. Donaghue and Labrum is a trusted firm that has proudly served Delaware and Chester counties for over 25 years and we have a strong track record of success. We provide free initial consultations, so don’t hesitate—contact us today and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.