Last week’s winter storm impacted parts of the metropolitan area. With it came below freezing temperatures, treacherous conditions, and an increase in slip-and-fall injuries.

Falls are the highest cause of injury across the United States. In fact, 2.3 million emergency room visits are related to slip-and-fall accidents every year, with an estimated 662,000 of those cases resulting in hospitalizations. New York City alone saw 24 fatalities from slip-and-fall accidents between 2005-2015.

Serious medical conditions that are caused by slip-and-fall injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Trauma to neck and back
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Muscle, joint, and soft tissue damage
  • Lacerations and deep bruising

With more than 12,750 miles of sidewalks in the city and hundreds of thousands of building fronts to walk in and out of, you may be wondering how it’s possible to avoid a slip-and-fall injury this winter. The good news is the responsibility of your safety is not solely on you.

BUSINESSES AND PROPERTY OWNERS HAVE A DUTY TO CLEAR

All business and property owners in NYC have a duty to keep their sidewalks, parking lots, and roofs clear to allow pedestrians to walk safely. It’s their responsibility to know what the expectations are for the safety of their property and to take the measures needed to remove snow and ice. Winter clearance regulations for NYC include clearing ice and snow:

  • that falls between 7:00 am – 4:59 pm within four hours of when the snow stops
  • that falls between 5:00 pm – 8:59 pm within 14 hours of when the snow stops
  • that falls between 9:00 pm – 6:59 am by 11:00 am the next day
  • Businesses and property owners are also responsible for providing appropriate weather mats and clean up methods for melted snow upon entering doorways to prevent slip-and-fall accidents on flooring.

ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR SLIPPERY

Even with strict city regulations for snow clearance, you never want to take the chance that someone didn’t do their job. When commuting by foot in the wintertime, always prepare for slippery conditions both inside and out:

  •  Wear high traction shoes to combat icy patches and slippery snow
  •  Focus on the path you’re walking at all times
  •  Try to keep your hands free to brace yourself if you slip
  •  Use handrails when going down stairs
  •  Avoid using your cell phone while walking to limit distractions.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU SLIP AND FALL

If you do slip and fall, don’t panic. Follow these steps to make sure you’re covered if you need to file a personal injury claim:

1. Seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in the fall.

2. Report the accident to the store owner, manager, or landlord immediately.

3. Document all information about the accident, recording all necessary information about the injury, conditions of the fall, and take pictures if you’re able.

4. Refrain from making too many statements to the store owner, manager, or landlord that can be used against you later.

5. Call an attorney to discuss your options.

If you or a loved one sustained a slip-and-fall injury this winter due to the negligence of another, you might be entitled to compensation. Contact the winning team at Siler & Ingber for your free consultation. Fill out the online form below or call today at 1-877-LAW-4343.