A major snowstorm recently gripped the east coast over the weekend, leaving many people without power and nearly everyone with slippery walkways. The snow and ice are here to stay, and they’re making it a hazardous condition for everyone – young and old.
Poor traction is contributing to falls as people slip on the snow and ice, struggling to gain traction.
Winter weather leads to twice as many deaths as summer, and over 1 million Americans slip and fall annually.
What should you do if you slip and fall this winter?
1. Report the Slip and Fall
You should be reporting the slip and fall, and this will depend on where you slipped and fell. If you fell at a commercial property, you’ll need to report the incident to the store or office itself. But if you fell at someone’s house, you may also be able to file a claim against the person’s homeowner’s insurance policy.
Insurance companies will try to put the fault on the owner, and they will try to determine if the responsibility to clear the sidewalk was the homeowner’s responsibility or the local municipality’s responsibility.
2. Document the Scene Condition and Location
You must take it upon yourself to document the scene of the accident, and this means documenting the location of the accident and conditions that led to the fall. This is a good time to take out your smartphone, if you have one, and start snapping pictures of the location.
Take pictures of the entire walkway and make sure to take additional pictures of the area in which you fell.
It’s important to have as much documentation as possible to give as evidence to insurers and those responsible for the injuries.
Also, if anyone saw you slip and fall, it’s a good time to ask them for their information. The names and telephone numbers of any witnesses should be jotted down.
You can use these accounts of the accident to strengthen your claim.
3. Seek Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
Medical treatment must be sought to ensure that you have the proper documentation relating to your injury. A lot of people will downplay their injuries. Do not do this. You need to provide the doctor with a thorough explanation of any pain you may be feeling.
Visit the doctor or emergency room as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that the term “black ice” should not be used. It’s always better to claim you’ve slipped on ice because the term “black ice” may be used against you.
Once you’ve taken these important steps, it’s your choice on how to proceed. You do have the option of pressing charges against another entity if they’re responsible for your slip and fall. It’s up to you to prove that there was some form of negligence that led to the incident.
If snow is coming down and you’re at a commercial entity that is closed, it will be hard to prove your case because the commercial entity is closed and snow or ice may have accumulated that they didn’t know existed.
Contacting a legal professional is often your best option.