Risks of Slip & Fall Injuries Increase in Winter Months
As we descend into winter, cold weather precipitation can cause havoc not only on local Hudson Valley roads and highways, but also on sidewalks, walkways, and in other public spaces. Injuries brought on by slips and falls on unmaintained business premises can cause serious injuries, including broken wrists and hands when catching yourself during a fall, broken hips, traumatic brain injuries, slipped discs, or serious sprains. You have a right to expect that spaces open to the public should be safe and free from potential hazards, such as black ice or puddles of water you can’t see, and you have a right to compensation if you’re hurt by a fall.
Premises Liability basics
When a business opens its doors to the public, inviting them in as potential sources of revenue, that business has an obligation to keep its premises safe and free of any hazardous conditions. For example, if the business is a restaurant, employees should inspect the premises for spilled drinks or food, in order to keep patrons from slipping in a puddle of liquid they didn’t know was there. If that business has a walkway out front, or a marble entryway, there may be additional hazards created by freezing or wet wintertime conditions, which you should nevertheless be able to assume the business will take caution to eliminate. Despite the business’ legal obligation to protect its customers, many individuals nevertheless end up in the hospital with slip-and-fall injuries that could have been prevented by a conscientious, non-negligent property owner.
What to do if you’re hurt in a winter weather-related fall
If you should slip on a patch of invisible ice or melted snow, doctors recommend that you try to roll with the fall, or sit back into the fall if you’re tipping backwards. The more relaxed you are, the more you may be able to avoid injury from the fall. If you are nevertheless hurt, be sure to report the injury to the person in charge of the property as soon as possible, and until you are able to assess your injuries or speak with an attorney, do not agree to sign any paperwork that might release the business from having to pay you for costs associated with your medical care. If anyone saw you fall, try to obtain their contact information, and take quick photos of the scene of the accident to show the dangerous condition. Obtain medical care as soon as possible, so that you can show to an insurance company or judge that your injuries were sufficiently severe to require immediate care. Speak to a personal injury attorney so that you can allow someone with knowledge of the law help you be fully compensated for your injuries, so that you can focus on healing.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a slip and fall, contact the experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello for a consultation on your possible lawsuit, at 845-331-4100, or 845-236-4411.