Last week, snow fell on State College for the first time the season. Those first snowflakes hold promises of snow days, sledding, snowball fights, and building snowmen. Snowfall marks the beginning of the winter, and the holiday season; however, it also marks the beginning of a season of dangerous indoor and outdoor walkway conditions. Slip and fall injuries happen frequently in improperly maintained public areas such as shopping centers, sidewalks, grocery stores, and even the workplace.
The True Cost of Slip and Falls
Frighteningly enough, slip and falls are the leading cause of:
- spine and back injuries in the country,
- nonfatal injuries to children, and
- injuries related to death in seniors
After a slip and fall accident, you may find yourself facing more financial and emotional costs than you could have expected. Injuries sustained from slip and fall account for more than one million hospital visits in the United States every year. Slip and falls are the primary cause of lost days from work.
After a slip and fall accident, you may find yourself in pain and unable to work. Mounting hospital bills, lost time at work, missed vacations, holidays, and time with your family are just some of the financial costs slip and fall victims suffer each day. Often, the non-financial harms that slip and fall victims suffer are the most damaging. Sleepless nights, hours waiting in doctor offices, pain, unpleasant surgical scars, anxiety about the ability to recover, fear of the unknown, depression and damaged relationships with family and loved ones.
Prevention and Action
As a business or property owner, you must take extra care during the fall and winter seasons to ensure that walkways and surfaces are dry and clear of hazards. You should provide secured weather mats in high traffic areas where shoes can be cleared of salt, snow, and debris. Business and property owners should also be vigilant in monitoring entry points for water, debris, leaves and salt. When a slip and fall hazard does develop, warning signs often are the difference between a customer injury and a preventable accident. Preparation is often the best prevention.
As a pedestrian, you should equip yourself with weather appropriate footwear. Avoid slick areas if possible, and be weary of snow covered ice patches. As you are walking, be wary of possible obstructions or dangers in your path.
Sometimes, being responsible and cautious is not enough. Slip, trip and fall accidents do happen no matter how diligent you are.
If you do experience a slip and fall in a business or public space, it is extremely important to notify an employee or representative as soon as possible. It is best to document your accident and prepare for the worst even if you do not feel seriously injured as some injuries can become more apparent as time goes on. It is best to then seek medical attention in order to treat injuries sustained before those injuries can worsen.
After you make sure that a representative from the establishment where you were injured is notified of the accident, and that you have seen a medical professional to make sure that you are getting the treatment you need, contact an attorney. Hospital visits, treatments, medication, and time away from work can be extremely costly. You do not have to suffer the burden alone.
If you or someone you know has suffered a slip and fall, please contact Rehmeyer & Allatt for a consultation: 814-343-9860