What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Injury on Ice and Snow?

icy sidewalk

Slip and fall injuries account for many emergency room visits and hospital admissions each year. The statistics are staggering and if you are one of these victims, you understand all too well how this type of injury can occur to anyone and at any time. With the winter season well into swing, icy conditions cause slippery sidewalks, footpaths and parking lots, creating an increased risk.

Just how much of a threat is adverse winter weather and what injuries are commonly suffered after a slip and fall on ice? You need to be informed about the legal aid and compensation you can hope to receive after suffering this kind of injury.

The Impact of Slip and Fall Injuries on Ice

Injury from falls accounts for millions of emergency visits annually in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control. Three million of these falls alone are experienced by older adults who are at greater risk of sustaining a fracture and secondary complications leading to lengthy hospitalizations and even death. The CDC further explains that one out of every five falls results in a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury.

Winter weather brings with it the icy precipitation that presents an additional risk factor for falls and fall related injuries. The Minnesota Daily reported that in February 2019, extreme winter weather caused an uptick in fall injuries. Some of those adversely affected sought care at  Boynton Health and Hennepin Healthcare. In just one day on February 4th, Hennepin Healthcare treated 100 patients in their emergency room after they fell on ice and in one week, twice the usual number of x-rays were performed.

The financial burden is significant costing $50 billion annually for non-fatal injuries and $754 million on fatal falls per the CDC. These cost include hospital fees, nursing home care and rehabilitation but do not account for the long term effects of these injuries such as disability, loss of independence and reduced quality of life.

Not only is there the considerable cost of pain and suffering related to slip and falls, but it also comes with the financial impact of lost wages. Bongarde explains how “snow, ice and freezing temps in the winter, multiply the number of wet and slippery surfaces at work and the potential for accidents.” In fact, in 2014 there were 42,480 workplace injuries that involved wintry weather conditions and resulted in the loss of work for at least one day. Understandably, most of these injuries occurred in outdoor areas that are common to foot traffic such as walkways, sidewalks and parking lots.

Common Injuries Sustained

Despite your age, falls can cause significant and life altering injuries. The CDC list common injuries from fall as broken bones of the wrist, arm, ankle and hip. Hip fractures are a very real risk as 95% of them are caused by falls. These types of injuries often require extensive hospitalization and post-operative physical therapy and there can be secondary complications exacerbated by preexisting conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease. Another common injury is a traumatic brain injury. This can have a negative impact on a person for the remainder of their life and sometimes require lifelong use of prescription medications and or affect mobility and independence.

Icy Slip and Fall Lawsuit Hits Close to Home

In February of this year, Fox 9 news anchor, Jeff Passolt sued the state after he suffered a severe injury in 2017 after slipping on ice outside the state capitol. The Star Tribune reports that he is alleging negligence against the state of Minnesota explaining that products should have been used that would provide traction to pedestrians despite changing weather conditions and this resulted in “unreasonably dangerous conditions”. From his fall on an icy sidewalk, he sustained a broken hip requiring surgery and resulting in more than $50,000 worth of medical expenses and emotional distress.

Is There Hope of Compensation?

You may be hesitant to pursue your case in court assuming that you would not stand a chance against the more powerful entities you would be up against. Countless settlements invalidate this argument as in the case of one Edison New Jersey man as Patch reports. In 2014 while shopping at The Plaza at Woodbridge, a well-known shopping center, he slipped on a pedestrian walkway that was frozen over by run-off water from a nearby snow pile. Despite the property owner being notified of this potential hazard, the snow pile was not removed resulting in the dangerous situation that caused much suffering to the plaintiff. As a result, Mr. Adams was treated for spine and neck injuries requiring surgery. Despite the defendants claim that these injuries were the cause of previous car accidents, a jury awarded Adams a settlement of two million dollars.

What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall on Ice Injury?

First and foremost, you need to get treatment for your injuries. If possible, have someone assist you in getting pictures of both your injuries and the precipitating factors such as the ground surface or obstacle that resulted in your fall. Then finally, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney. You may believe that you can handle your own personal injury case but important steps could be missed and you may not be compensated for the true value of your case. Therefore, it is imperative that you work with an attorney who is an expert in the field of injury law so that you can receive just compensation for at the minimum, your medical bills and missed days of work.

Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers have recovered over $120,000,000 for their personal injury clients. Since 2009, they have been serving the needs of the injured in southeastern Minnesota. They have the experience to handle complex personal injury cases such as foot and ankle injuries, knee injury, wrongful death, leg and hip injury, traumatic brain injury, spine injury, slip and fall injury and more. For a free case evaluation, contact us here.