Slip and fall accidents represent one of the most common incidents giving rise to personal injuries. The chances of a person sustaining injuries from a slip and fall accident increase markedly during the winter months, during that time of year when snow and ice litter streets and walkways.
A proactive stance is necessary to lessen the odds of a slip and fall accident due to snow and ice. Only through such a proactive stance is it possible to lessen the extent of injuries sustained on a seasonal basis because of slip and fall accidents due to snow and ice.
Clearing Snow and Ice
Although the directive to promptly and thoroughly clear snow and ice is a common sense dictate, removal simply does not always happen in an appropriate manner. The reality is that in most communities, ordinances are on the books requiring people to remove snow and ice from walkways in front of their homes or businesses in a timely manner. The failure to do so can result in fines and other sanctions. More importantly, the failure to take this responsible step exposes a home or business owner to liability for injuries sustained by a person who slips and falls and then sustained injuries.
Identify Problematic Areas
Even when snow and ice is removed in a reasonable and responsible manner, a hazard associated with wintertime weather can remain. For example, there are walkways that accumulate runoff and then develop icy patches by virtue of their design. A person simply cannot manage to clear the area fast enough to ensure a complete elimination of a hazard. In such a circumstance, it is incumbent that the area be clearly marked as hazardous -- in much the same way that a wet floor is identified inside a building. A home or business owner typically can protect his or her self from liability for another person's slip and fall injuries by clearly identifying this type of hazardous zone.
It's Nearly All About the Shoes
In addition to clearing snow and ice in a timely, thorough manner, the other key strategy that must be followed on a wintry day is the selection of appropriate footwear. Again, this seems like a common sense tip that a logical person follows.
In fact, time and time again, choice of footwear is a major contributing factor to a slip and fall accident and associated injuries. A person must focus on the sole of selected footwear. The sole must be designed to provide suitable traction when traversing snow and ice.