According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each
year millions of people age 65 and older fall, but of course anyone can
be injured in a fall. The CDC reports that over 800,000 people are hospitalized
annually due to falls, and two of the most common fall-related injuries
include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and hip fractures.
Each year, the direct medical costs of fall-related injuries in the United
States is about $31 billion, and hospital costs represents two-thirds
of that total, the CDC reports. While not all falls lead to serious injuries,
they can easily lead to
broken bones, such as wrist, arm, ankle, and knee fractures, as well as head injuries,
which can be very serious.
While slip and fall accidents occur year-round, they are especially common
in the winter when we have rain, ice, and snow conditions that enhance
the danger factor on our walkways, both inside and outside of buildings
Slips & Falls in Slippery Conditions
Employers, government entities, and businesses (e.g. retail stores and
restaurants etc.) have a public duty to keep their customers, employees,
vendors, and visitors safe. During the winter months, a key aspect of
this duty includes taking concentrated steps to reduce if not eliminate
the risk of slips and falls inside and outside of their properties.
It’s a known fact:
Slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of injury, especially when rain, ice, and snow are
present. Slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of personal injury
lawsuits across all sectors, including general office environments, in
the retail setting, healthcare, manufacturing, and grocery chains.
During the winter season when people are at risk of slipping due to rain,
wet puddles indoors, ice in parking lots, and melting snow, property owners
and lessees have an enhanced duty to keep interior walking surfaces, parking
lots, and sidewalks well-maintained so people don’t slip and fall
and sustain injuries due to winter weather conditions.
Property owners and lessees are expected to do the following to keep their
properties safe and reduce the risk of slips and falls in the winter:
- Remove accumulated snow outside the property in a timely manner.
- Apply salt or other surface treatments to icy spots outside the premises.
- Ensure adequate lighting outside the premises during nighttime hours.
- Quickly take care of snow, ice, and water that is tracked into the building.
- Have replacement floor mats on hand to replace wet ones throughout the day.
- Monitor indoor areas where snow, ice, and water collect during the day
and quickly mop it up.
During the winter months, property owners must be vigilant about maintaining
their premises so visitors don’t slip and fall on slippery, wet
surfaces. When property owners fail in this duty and someone is injured,
they can be held liable for the injured person’s damages.
Were you injured in a slip and fall accident? If so,
contact Laurence A. Silverman, Esq. for a free case evaluation!