Are Slip and Fall Accidents More Common in the Winter?
December 21, 2022
Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of serious injuries across the country every year. According to the CDC, more than 800,000 individuals are hospitalized each year due to slip and fall injuries. In the cold winter months, the rate of slip and fall accidents increases as snow and ice accumulates on sidewalks, steps, and in parking lots. Residential and commercial property owners are responsible for keeping their property safe and reasonably clear of snow and ice. When property owners neglect this duty, it puts visitors at risk for serious slip and fall accidents and injuries.
Slip and fall accidents and injuries are usually the result of someone else’s negligence. If you sustain an injury on someone else’s property, regardless of whether it is someone you know or a retail business, you may be eligible to pursue a personal injury claim to receive compensation for the injuries and damages you sustained.
How Do Slip and Falls Happen in the Winter?
Unsuspecting pedestrians can slip and fall for a variety of reasons at any time of the year. Slip and fall accidents can happen in grocery stores, shopping malls, restaurants, parking garages, apartment buildings, or on neighbors’ properties. The winter months put visitors at an increased risk.
Winter weather can create hazardous and slippery conditions caused by frozen or melted ice. Slip and falls often happen as the result of accumulated snow and ice on sidewalks and steps or puddles and spills on tile floors and stairs. The accumulation of snow, sleet, and ice in the winter can cause slip and falls anywhere, such as steps outside of a residence or a wet floor in a commercial space.
Every year in Pennsylvania, winter weather creates hazardous and slippery conditions for pedestrians. It is particularly dangerous if property owners fail to maintain necessary safeguards.
Improper drainage can also cause walkways to freeze over and pose hazards for visitors or tenants. Repetitive problems, such as drainage pipes that leak water onto sidewalks or other areas of the property, must be dealt within a reasonable amount of time by property owners or maintenance managers. If they fail to take action to fix the problem, they can be held liable for subsequent accidents and injuries.
What Are Common Slip and Fall Injuries?
There are a wide range of injuries that can result from a slip and fall accident. The most common injuries people sustain in slip and fall accidents include head injuries, broken bones, and fractures. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to dangerous slip and fall accidents that result in hip fractures and other debilitating injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) with life-changing consequences often happen when individuals slip and fall and hit their heads with force on a hard surface. Children are susceptible to slip and falls, as they are more likely to run and less likely to notice hazardous conditions.
Other common slip and fall injuries include:
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Neck injuries.
- Shoulder, elbow, and wrist injuries.
- Knee and ankle injuries.
- Cuts and lacerations.
- Facial injuries.
- Chronic pain.
It is imperative that you receive immediate medical attention if you experience a slip and fall accident, whether you think you are injured. Some injuries are not readily apparent but extremely serious. You will also need documentation of your injuries and any medical treatment you received for future claims and legal proceedings.
What Damages Are Possible in a Slip and Fall Claim?
If you were harmed as the result of a slip and fall, you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages, depending on the nature of the accident and extent of your injuries. If the slip and fall accident resulted in the death of a loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed seeking compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium or support.
Damages you may be able to recover for injuries due to a slip and fall include:
- Medical expenses and hospital bills.
- Costs for future and ongoing care.
- Rehabilitation therapies.
- Medical devices such as walkers or wheelchairs.
- Prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
- Transportation costs.
- Costs of hiring home help.
- Out-of-pocket costs.
- Current and future lost wages.
- Loss of earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Loss of quality of life.
Although rare, injured parties may also recover punitive damages in addition to any compensatory awards. If a property owner acted willfully or recklessly in causing harm, a court may order them to pay punitive damages as punishment and a way to deter them and others from committing future acts of gross negligence.
How Can a Lawyer Help with My Slip and Fall Case?
Property owners are required to take extra care to keep their property safe in the winter months. Despite this, countless preventable slip and falls accidents with devasting outcomes happen every year. Proving liability in winter weather-related premises liability cases can be tricky without proper legal guidance.
Pursuing a personal injury claim for a slip and fall accident requires proving fault among other elements. A skilled attorney with experience in premises liability cases can help guide you through the process and build a strong case against the property owner.
A lawyer will discuss the details of your case, investigate your accident, and help you pursue all viable claims. In addition, your attorney can help gather evidence to establish exactly how the slip and fall occurred, including video footage, photos of the scene, inspection reports, and eyewitness statements.
Other ways in which a premises liability lawyer can help with your slip and fall case include:
- Evaluate which parties may be liable for your injuries.
- Identify relevant insurance policies.
- Explore if a tenant or other third party is also responsible for your injuries and damages.
- Calculate the potential value of your claim.
- Handle all negotiations with insurance companies and opposing counsel.
- Take your case to trial if that is the best course of action
- Handle the details from start to finish so you can recover from your injuries.
Our Firm Can Help You with Your Slip and Fall Case
Galfand Berger LLP has a long-standing history of recovering substantial awards for clients in premises liability cases:
- $250,000 settlement for hotel slip and fall. Our client was a guest at a popular hotel chain and suffered injuries when she slipped and fell on condensation that developed on the tiled floor in the hotel lobby. Her injuries included a fractured ankle and a dislocated elbow. After a thorough investigation, our team discovered that the condensation was the result of humid outdoor temperatures meeting the air conditioning near the lobby doors. Our skillful premises liability lawyers negotiated a $250,000 settlement with the insurance carrier for the hotel prior to filing a lawsuit.
Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Represent Those Who Have Been Injured in Winter Slip and Fall Accidents
If you have been injured on someone else’s property because of a dangerous winter hazard, our Philadelphia premises liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP are here to answer your legal questions and review your case. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.