Connecticut has challenging winters. The yearly average snowfall in the state is 37 inches, which is higher than the 28-inch US average. With snow and ice, there are higher risks with winter-related slip and falls. Fractures, dislocations, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and bruising are just a few of the injuries that can result from slipping on ice.
Slip and fall injuries caused by untreated snow and ice accumulation on parking lots, pathways, stairs, and porches can last long after the last snowflake has melted.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, slips and falls cause more than one million emergency room visits each year, making them the leading cause of injuries in businesses and workplaces nationwide (CDC).
While it’s common for people to blame weather-related slips and falls that take place in snowy, icy conditions to an act of nature, the truth is that these sorts of accidents may be prevented, making the term “accident” somewhat misleading. To safeguard employees, clients, and visitors, property owners must keep the external walking surfaces in a safe condition.
In Connecticut, what happens if you hurt yourself slipping on ice while on someone else’s property? Can you file a claim for damages against the property owner?
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident caused by snow and ice accumulation on a commercial or private property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical costs, and other connected expenses. Ganim Injury Attorneys can assist you in determining if your injuries were caused by the carelessness of a property owner and determining the worth of your claim. They can also recommend suitable compensation depending on the responsibility of the opposing party.
How Do Snow and Ice Impact Slip-and-Falls?
In the winter, snow and ice may quickly accumulate on any external surface, including parking lots, sidewalks, and steps and ramps, making walking dangerous. Slips and falls are more likely to occur on wet and slippery surfaces. If the dangerous condition is not resolved by the property owner within a reasonable period of time, then the property owner may be held partially or fully liable for negligence.
If you are injured as a result of slipping or falling on snow or ice, then you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. You should also take photographs of the area where you fell as this will help document the dangerous area.
What Can Be Done to Prevent a Slip and Fall?
It is always wise to add sand or salt to surfaces that are expected to become slippery due to a pending storm. Then after the storm, it’s critical to remove snow and ice as soon as you can. If after removal a slippery condition remains then salt or sand should be once again applied to the surface area. Once the dangerous condition no longer exists the salt and sand should be swept away because they can also lead to slippery conditions.
In the winter, when the days are longer and the buildup of winter weather increases the risk of slips and falls, it is especially crucial to provide sufficient lighting. The use of good illumination enables visitors to identify and avoid potential threats. Replace any burned-out lights and install walkway lighting.
Look for safety rails and grab bars that may be utilized to avoid falls on icy walks throughout the winter on stairways and entrance ramps. Any railings that are damaged or loose need to be fixed right away.
When it heats up during the day, snow and ice buildup might seem to have melted, but keep an eye out for the impacts of overnight thawing and refreezing, which can make paths treacherous once again when businesses open. Thaw and refreeze accidents can be avoided by taking the necessary precautions to maintain clean walkways, steps, porches, and parking lots.
Slip and fall hazards from snow and ice can also occur within a building. Standing pools of water caused by melting snow and slush can damage interior entryways. Runner rugs near entrances absorb fluids from wet shoes and boots, minimizing water buildup on hard surface floors. Throughout the winter, they should be taken as a preventative measure. Make sure rugs and mats are flat on the floor and clear of creases or bunching to prevent people from stumbling over them.
What Are the Implications of Winter Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall injuries can range from minor to severe, causing physical disability as well as emotional and financial distress. Sprains, bruises, bumps, scrapes, and cuts may heal fast, but fractures and head injuries can result in long-term pain and serious adverse effects.
Skeletal fractures are a typical form of injury in slips on snow and ice. 25% of slip and fall fractures need surgery to fix fractured bones in the hips, arms, and back.
Injury to the central nervous system, including the spinal cord and severe brain traumas, is typically life-changing and can result in permanent impairment or even death. Slips are projected to kill 700 people per year and are the third biggest cause of accidental death in the United States.
Slip and fall incidents may result in overwhelming medical bills, disabling pain, and missed work days, costing Americans more than $34 billion each year and forcing some households into bankruptcy.
What Are Property Owners’ Responsibilities in Slip and Fall Accidents?
According to the law, visitors who have been allowed onto a private or public property have a right to assume that it will be fairly safe. When businesses open their doors to clients, they are extending an implicit invitation. All property owners, whether they own commercial or residential properties, should have liability insurance since guests of private dwellings are equally entitled to protection under the law.
Failure to address weather-related dangers might expose a property owner to legal action in the event of an accident since they may be held financially liable for any harm to clients, visitors, or staff. Premises liability is the legal term for when such safety requirements are not upheld to the point that they injure someone.
If a property owner does not fix weather-related slipping dangers within a reasonable time after they develop, then they may be liable for any injuries which may occur under premises liability laws. Property owners are required to routinely inspect sidewalks, steps, parking lots, and other walking surfaces before letting visitors onto the property. Claiming ignorance of a problem by a property owner is not a defense under the law.
Although a property owner is normally held accountable in a premises liability claim or lawsuit, if snow and ice removal was contracted out to another person, that person may also be held financially liable for the victim’s injuries for failing to maintain surfaces correctly.
How Do I Get My Money Back After a Slip and Fall Accident?
Despite the fact that liability insurance frequently pays for at least some of the losses sustained by a victim of a slip and fall, it is customary for insurance companies to challenge the truth or worth of a claim. They might refuse to pay for all of the expenses and even make the case that the victim is partially to blame for their injuries or that the property owner’s precautions were adequate to avoid an accident.
Additionally, an insurance company can try to argue that an injury is unconnected to the fall due to a pre-existing condition that existed before the accident and was not brought on by the slip and fall.
A slip and fall victim may be left with no alternative but to retain a premises liability attorney and bring a personal injury claim in order to recover the maximum amount of damages. According to Connecticut law, a potential plaintiff must bring a premises liability lawsuit within the allotted time period, which is two years after the incident giving rise to the claim.
The claimant must establish that they were an invited visitor to the subject property. In addition, he or she must demonstrate the following:
- The property owner owed a duty of care to the injured person.
- The property owner was negligent and violated that duty of care.
- The plaintiff’s injuries were brought on by that property owner’s negligence.
- The plaintiff suffered losses as a result of the injuries.
The majority of personal injury cases settle out of court, but sometimes they go to trial. When they do, it’s up to the jury to evaluate whether the property owner took adequate steps to protect visitors, staff, and customers from accidents caused by snow and ice.
5 Step to Do After a Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident
- Seek Medical Treatment – After a slip, trip, and fall accident, your health—or the health of a loved one—should be your top priority. If you have been injured, you should consult a doctor so that your injuries may be properly recorded. If you decide to seek compensation for your injuries, those medical documents will be crucial evidence.
- Report the Accident – Make sure you notify a manager, owner, or landlord of any slip, trip, and fall incident, whether it occurs in a store, on a sidewalk, or at a friend’s house. Don’t forget to gather a written report of the occurrence; ask the management, owner, or landlord to do so, and ask for a copy before you leave.
- Always Keep Records – It is critical to collect all prospective witnesses’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. If you decide to file a legal claim, their statements may assist you and support your case. Remember to document the EXACT spot where you fell, as well as any steps, ice patches, or other factors that contributed to your accident. Make a note of what you were doing just before the accident, how you fell, and any other facts, such as the precise time and date. Also, save the shoes and clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident in a secure location. They might be useful evidence later on. Photographs of the dangerous area are always very helpful.
- Refrain from Making Statements – Maintain your composure and minimize your interactions with the property owner or management. Do not share any information about your accident on social media. Refuse to provide an insurance company a statement before you’ve consulted with an attorney. Don’t assign blame—and don’t accept any.
- Contact a Lawyer – An experienced lawyer is the best person on your side while considering legal action. You are best served by the resources of an effective law firm since many slip, trip, and fall lawsuits are complicated and challenging to prove. We have the expertise, know-how, and successful track record to get you the money you deserve.
Speak with a Personal Injury Lawyer
You are entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical treatment, pain and suffering, restriction of activities and lost time from your employment as a result of the accident. With Ganim Injury Lawyers, you’ll work with accomplished, knowledgeable attorneys who have the resources necessary to win your case. We’ll be there for every step to fight and get you the compensation you truly deserve. Call today to get started.