Slip-and-falls can happen anytime, but winter increases risk

Comedies and cartoons would have you believe that the worst fallout from a slip-and-fall would be a bruised bottom and ego. Contrary to how they are depicted for entertainment sake, slip-and-fall accidents typically don’t involve banana peels. Also, when a slip-and-fall incident happens in the real world, it is often anything but funny. They can happen to anyone, but can be particularly devastating to the elderly. Many times, serious injuries or even death can result from a slip-and-fall.

Slip-and-fall incidents happen both to employees at work and to those traveling or patronizing businesses. In fact, they send more than a million people to emergency rooms for medical care every year. These unfortunate events can happen any time of year or day, but winter weather can often increase certain risk factors for slip-and-falls.

Slick sidewalks, snowy parking lots and wet entrances

Wet or slippery conditions are often a precursor to a slip-and-fall incident. For example, snow melt in the entrance to a business could result in puddling. A customer could easily lose traction when crossing the wet floor and end up slipping. In parking lots, drifts of snow or unmelted ice could leave patrons or visitors to a building unable to prevent a fall. Icy or uncleared sidewalks can also pose a hazard to pedestrians.

Property owners and business managers should take steps to reduce the risk to visitors, employees and customers. Failing to do so could result in incurring premises liability. Essentially, any building or space that is open to the public should be safe for common use. When a failure of maintenance or upkeep results in an accident and an injury, the business or property owner could be accountable for the damages that result. To offset this potential risk, most businesses and property owners carry special liability insurance for premises liability.

Injuries associated with slip-and-falls can be quite severe

Some of the more common serious injuries associated with slip-and-falls include broken bones, soft tissue or joint injuries, head injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Some people could suffer trauma to the torso or limbs when attempting to stop a fall. Impact with the floor or nearby furniture or shelving could also result in additional injuries.

Many times, people who slip backwards end up striking their head on the wall or the floor. This can result in a concussion or even a permanent traumatic brain injury. These kinds of injuries are particularly insidious, as the symptoms may take days or weeks to fully develop.

It’s important for those who slip and fall in or outside of a business to report the incident to management before leaving the premises. If there was any kind of blow to the head, even if there are no other symptoms, it’s important to seek medical evaluation to prevent potentially worsening injury to your brain over time.

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