Wintry weather and rainstorms can mean an uptick in emergency room visits for slips, trips and falls. Many of these accidents are entirely preventable with proper building and property maintenance. An owner or occupier’s failure to remedy property hazards – such as ice accumulating on a stairway or puddles in an office building’s lobby – signifies negligence.
A negligent owner/occupier may be held liable in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident claim or lawsuit. These legal actions seek financial compensation for serious injuries (like fractures, torn ligaments and spinal cord trauma) and lost wages. Claimants must present significant evidence to support a claim of negligence, liability and injury.
What can you do to avoid slip and fall accidents during rainy and wintery months?
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Below are five tips to protect yourself in the event you encounter a poorly maintained property:
1. Take your time
When possible, avoid traveling in rain, sleet or snow. If you must go out, allow extra travel time to reach your destination. Choose only those walkways and sidewalks that are free of ice and other dangerous accumulation – even if this means adding time to your commute.
2. Dress for the weather
Opt for boots or shoes with non-slip soles or treads. Avoid high heels or dress shoes with little to no grip. Wear warm gloves or mittens so you can walk with your hands at your sides, instead of in your pockets. This will help with balance.
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3. Be especially careful in parking lots
A property owner or manager may neglect to check the condition of a parking lot regularly and clear away ice and snow. Hold on to your car door when exiting a vehicle and take short steps as you approach the building.
4. Alert property owners to dangerous conditions
Speak up if you spot a sidewalk, floor or stairway with hazards, such as snow accumulation or standing water. Property owners and occupiers are responsible for maintaining reasonably safe areas. A failure to do so may constitute neglect.
5. Act quickly if you suffer injury in a slip and fall accident
Seek prompt medical attention if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident. Some injuries, such as slipped discs and torn ligaments, may not be immediately apparent. A comprehensive medical exam may be necessary to determine the extent of your injuries.
Take photographs of the accident scene to document any hazards, such as puddles or ice. Notify the building or property owner/manager of your accident and injury. Consult with a lawyer to learn more about your rights for financial compensation in an injury claim or lawsuit. Avoid talking to anyone about the accident (Example: Do not post about it on Facebook.) and do not sign anything from the insurance company without first having your lawyer review it.
Have you suffered serious injury in a slip, trip and fall accident in Ontario? Contact Preszler Law to schedule your free case evaluation. Call 1-800-JUSTICE® or complete this online form.