Why Do Trip and Fall Accidents Happen in the Winter?
Trip and fall accidents – as with slip and fall accidents – are a year-round safety issue but may be more likely to occur in the winter months. Many trip and fall accidents can be attributed to an owner or occupier’s negligence. A victim who suffers serious injury in a trip and fall accident on another person’s property may be eligible for compensation to address medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and other injury-related costs.
What is a trip and fall accident?
A trip and fall accident occurs when a person catches his or her foot/ankle/leg on an object, causing him or her to lose balance. These accidents also can occur when a person drops unexpectedly to a lower level, such as with a poorly marked step in a house, hotel, restaurant or other building.
Trip and fall victims typically fall forward, as opposed to victims of slip and fall accidents, who typically fall backward. A forward fall from a trip can result in injuries to the arms, wrists, hands, shoulders, neck, head and spinal cord, as well as to the knees, feet and legs. These accidents may result in tears, disc herniation, sprains, strains and broken bones.
Common Reasons for Trip and Fall Accidents in the Winter
Trip and fall accidents may be especially common in winter months, owing to the special seasonal considerations. Factors in wintertime trip and falls may include:
- snow and/or ice obscuring imperfections (such as cracks and changes in elevation) in sidewalks, walkways and parking lots;
- mats used for wiping wet or snow-covered shoes becoming bunched up and creating a trip hazard near doors;
- potholes, which become more abundant in the winter and early spring after months of freezing and thawing cause damage to the pavement; and
- victims having a compromised sense of balance, owing to walking with their hands in pockets to keep warm or because of slippery walking surfaces.
Other factors in trip and fall accidents may include poorly marked steps, poorly designed curbs and obstacles (such as cords, wires and other debris) left in walkways.
What to Do After a Trip and Fall Accident
Trip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella of occupiers’ liability law. Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act outlines the conditions for holding property owners/occupiers responsible for maintaining reasonably safe premises. These rules apply to private businesses and residences, as well as commercial properties such as apartment buildings, hotels, restaurants and office buildings.
No matter the time of year or cause, it is important to take quick action. Victims should seek prompt medical attention, even in cases where injuries seem minor. Some injuries can take several days for symptoms to manifest.
Take notes about the accident and circumstances surrounding the accident, such as any evident hazards, the location and time of the accident. Ask witnesses for their contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses.
Contact a lawyer for help pursuing fair compensation from all negligent parties. The Preszler Injury Lawyers helps injured Ontario residents collect financial settlements in occupiers’ liability actions. Call 1-800-JUSTICE® or complete our online form to schedule a free case evaluation.