Last winter you suffered a pretty horrific slip and fall outside your favorite restaurant. Although the weather wasn’t that bad, and there were only a few flurries, the sidewalk was extremely slick. As you and your husband left the restaurant, he let go of your hand to grab his keys and you immediately lost your balance on an icy patch and fell head over heels. After two months of pain, your hip finally started to feel better. Unfortunately, now that winter is approaching again, you’re scared to step foot outside the house, just in case.
Living in the south obviously hasn’t quite prepared you for slippery sidewalks and icy roads. However, even in a climate as pleasant as Virginia's, you should expect occasional encounters with snow and ice in the winter months. So what should you be aware of to avoid another slip and fall? What factors make sidewalks so dangerous?
When Fall Turns to Winter and Winter Turns to Falling
According to the National Safety Council, winter fall injuries have increased at an alarming rate. Throughout the U.S., over nine million disabling fall injuries occur per year, 40% of which occur during the winter months of November, December, and January.
Although temperate climates don’t see much snow, the National Institutes of Health still considers even one or two days of slippery sidewalks and roads to be extremely dangerous. Slip-and-falls on icy and snowy surfaces involve not only outdoor workers, but also the general public, making the potential for injury that much greater.
Hazardous falling factors of winter weather include:
- Ice. Not only is ice inherently slippery, but it is also extremely hard to see, increasing your chances of falling.
- Slush. Slush is a dangerous combination of ice, water and mud. It can be hard to see, but extremely slippery, especially on hard surfaces like laminate, tiles and varnished wood.
- Melted snow, flurries and ice. During the warmer days of winter, you may begin to have a false sense of security when it comes to walking safety. After all, the ice and snow are melting, so it shouldn’t be that slippery, right? Wrong. When ice and snow begin to melt, surfaces can actually become even more treacherous due to packed ice becoming looser, water spreading over larger areas, and the fact that even though the sun may be warm enough to melt surface snow, it may not be warm enough to keep that melted snow from refreezing on the ground.
- Decreased traction. When your shoes and boots get caked with snow, their treads become useless. Unfortunately this means that along with dealing with the slippery snow, you’re also dealing with decreased traction.
- Inappropriate footwear. When walking in snow, ice, slush, and water, the more surface area your foot has with the floor the better. Not only will this help with stability, balance and keeping your weight evenly distributed, it also allows you to compensate more if a part of your foot lands on ice. Unfortunately, high heels, flip flops, and other precarious footwear may look good, but they will not keep you safe.
Picking Yourself Up
Slip and fall injuries can vary from minor bruises to broken bones and concussions. No matter what the cause of the injury, if you’re not at fault, you deserve damage compensation. Contact us today to discuss your case and see how we can help you file an injury claim. Our extensive experience will help you get back on your feet, and help prevent your insurance company from pushing you back down. Call now to get the justice you deserve.
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