Key Points of This Article
- It is expected that business owners are aware of winter safety hazards such as ice and snow and take reasonable care in maintaining the safety of areas where the public is expected to travel.
- Negligence from managing safe winter walkways in a reasonable timeframe can lead to lasting slip and fall injuries.
- If you fall and injure yourself and believe it was at the fault of another person, be sure to gather evidence of the scene where you fell to help prove fault in your injury case.
- Common yet preventable slip and fall injuries during the winter include broken bones, facial lacerations, whiplash, and head injuries.
What To Do If You Become Injured in a Winter Slip and Fall
Each winter, the ice, slush, and snow are known to be pesky annoyances for Kentucky businesses, as well as residential property owners. Whether it be black ice that is hard to see or snow brought in with an unexpected winter storm, injuries caused by preventable slips and falls happen more than often than we might know and fill emergency rooms each season. These injuries mostly occur due to snow that was left and not shoveled, ice-filled spots left unmanaged and slippery, and front entrance water and slush-related slip hazards. Winter slips and falls typically happen after the hazards have been left to settle in doorways and on top of stairs, sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways.
If you become injured in a winter slip and fall accident:
- Call 911 if your injury appears severe and you require immediate help.
- Document the scene with photos and video as soon as it happened. If you don’t have a smartphone, don’t be afraid to ask others to take photos for you.
- Write everything down that you remember and work to gather the names and phone numbers of any witnesses or workers you talk with.
- Report the incident to the property owner so others are not injured.
- Be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible, especially if you suspect an internal injury or head trauma.
- Save all your medical reports, hospital billing statements, and paperwork provided by your treating physician.
Suppose the fall results from someone else’s negligence, and you wish to pursue a premise liability claim or seek disability because you can no longer work due to your injury. In that case, you will need evidence, including a medical professional, to document your diagnosis and any treatment required.
Next, seek the expertise of an experienced premise liability lawyer at Rhoads & Rhoads to help prove that the owner or manager of the property did not meet his duty of care to prevent your injuries. We can help determine if you may have a premises liability case in your favor. In premises liability cases, property owners are held responsible for financial damages due to an injury that occurred on their property.
Anticipating the Dangers of Slip and Fall Hazards
Property owners and state and local municipality managers in Kentucky have a responsibility to prevent slick walkways and clear snow and ice from areas used by customers, tenants, workers, and the public within a reasonable time. When those responsible choose not to perform those inspections or remedy hazards, winter’s most common slip and fall injuries are expected to happen more frequently.
- Soft Tissue Injuries, Cuts and Abrasions – Cuts, abrasions, road rash, gashes, and deep bleeding wounds that require stitches are most recognized by emergency department personnel assisting slip and fall accident victims. These can happen after a sharp blow to the body causes a laceration, or when the face or another body part collides with an obstruction. Severe swelling or infection may present within hours or days after a soft tissue injury, and scarring is almost inevitable.
- Contusions and Serious Head Injuries – A contusion is a bruise caused by a direct blow that crushes and cracks underlying muscle and tissue without breaking the skin. A contusion can result from a person’s head slammed onto the ground, into a door, or even onto an object during their fall. A hemorrhage can quickly follow and cause life-threatening traumatic brain damage.
- Whiplash – The head and neck can be easily injured during a fall, causing whiplash-type-injuries and unnatural movements to the spine, which cause damage, friction, and tension throughout the entire body. More serious whiplash injuries spark changes throughout the structures in and surrounding the neck and shoulders, causing chronic headaches and debilitating pain. Whiplash injuries often require extended therapies and a recovery time of six to nine months.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – Fall-related injuries to the spinal cord can cause different types of mobility impairments, depending on the areas of the spine affected. For those with severe spinal cord traumas caused by a slip and fall, a loss of function to certain parts of their body may arise and limit the use of their neck, arms, legs, torso, or hands properly. For many, life will never be the same, and unfortunately daily tasks may become impossible to perform without assistance.
- Broken Bones – Depending on how a person falls, breaking a bone (fracture) can be incredibly common. Broken hip bones and tailbones can be painful injuries and require a long recovery. Arms, elbows, and wrists are also more prevalent to break if the person uses their hands to brace a fall. The right diagnosis and treatment, including sometimes surgery, will depend on the specific bone that was fractured and the type of fracture.
- Facial Fractures – The main types of facial fractures related to slip and falls include a broken orbit, cracked cheekbone, forehead injuries, and a broken upper and lower jaw. Some symptoms such as pain, swelling, nosebleeds, eyesight problems, restricted jaw movement, and bruising and swelling can be related to facial fractures. Permanent disfigurement is possible.
Children, the disabled, and the elderly are most vulnerable to slip and fall injuries that can sometimes lead to disability, paralysis, and even death. Treatment and recovery may require full-time home-health assistance, physical rehabilitation, and expensive surgeries. All of these disruptions can also create catastrophic financial challenges for an injured person and their family.
Be safe out there! And if an unfortunate slip and fall happens to you this winter, trust that we are here for you and are happy to review your case.
Owensboro and Madisonville Personal Injury Lawyers — No Recovery, No Fee
If you become injured due to another’s negligence from clearing or creating a safe pathway, the attorneys at Rhoads & Rhoads will be at your side to ensure you are cared for in the best way possible. Call us at 888-709-9329 to schedule an appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys.