Anyone who has slipped on an icy or snowy sidewalk knows it’s embarrassing but also very painful. Serious injuries can occur and represent a significant cost to home and business owners as well as their insurance companies. In other words, if someone falls and gets hurt, they can file a lawsuit against the owner of the property.
Slip and fall accidents are the second leading cause of injuries in the United States — accounting for thousands of serious injuries and even deaths. Often these incidents are caused by a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property: a home, business or place of work. An injury or death from a fall that is caused by a hazardous condition on another person’s property may entitle the victim or the victim’s family to compensation for pain and suffering.
Minimizing risk is essential whether you own a home, business or frequently traverse icy or snowy streets, sidewalks and parking lots.
What’s At Stake
Slip and fall accidents are a primary source of risk for businesses — resulting in millions of dollars in liability losses annually.
In addition to direct liability payouts, slip and fall accidents lead to needless increases in insurance premiums as well as in hidden costs like lost productivity, increased administrative work and negative publicity.
The bad news is all of these costs negatively impact an organization’s bottom line. The good news is they are largely preventable.
Best Accident Prevention Practices
Businesses must provide adequate snow and ice removal outside but it goes much further than that.
Walkways must be smooth without being slippery. Walkways may crack due to settling surfaces, storm damage or the movement of tree roots so maintaining these areas on a regular basis is essential. A coating of snow may hide potential dangers during winter and early spring.
Slip and fall accidents commonly occur on ramps, which have proliferated since 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. Wheelchairs can navigate a slope of 7° or less without excessive effort but ramps with a slope of less than 4° may be hard to see and can surprise a pedestrian — especially when handrails are absent or snow is present. That’s why it’s so important to take extra care when it comes to maintaining these required surfaces.
Parking lots can be treacherous during the winter and early spring when even a scant coating of snow might make walking dangerous. Speed bumps present a potential slip and fall risk, especially during the winter months. They should be painted a bright color but, again, they may be obscured by snow or ice, so regular snow removal and de-icing is necessary.
The dangers do not end when you enter a home or business. It is the obligation of the home or business owner to warn people entering the area about the slipping hazards and to manually mop any excess water that accumulates.
What Happens If You Fall
If you slip and fall, the first step is to notify the property owner immediately — even before seeking treatment if possible — so they can take the necessary steps to prevent someone else from sustaining an injury. After notifying the property owner, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to guide you through the process of seeking compensation for your pain and suffering.
If you have sustained an injury as a result of a slip and fall accident, you are entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Legal expert Howard B. Segal will handle your case, protect your rights and help you get what you deserve.
To learn more about slip and fall accidents and what you may be entitled to, call 484.450.9660 or click on the button below to contact Howard B. Segal online and schedule your free slip and fall consultation.