Pittsburgh Slip and Fall Injury Risks Increase with Snow and Ice

Slip and fall accidents escalate during the winter months, as ice, snow, and sleet create hazards for Pittsburg residents. It’s not only motorists who face perilous conditions during their daily commute; pedestrians are forced to navigate icy sidewalks, parking lots, and entryways where melting snow poses risk for a traumatic fall-related injury. ‘

Every year, dozens of Pennsylvania residents are seriously harmed when they fall on wet, slick, or snowy surfaces. In fact, slips, trips, and falls are a common cause of workplace injury, and account for more than half of all liability claims filed against businesses and property owners.

Winter weather dangers

The majority of snow and ice-related falls occur in driveways, sidewalks, roads, and areas where pedestrians move from home to vehicles and to worksites. Hallways and building entryways where snow has been tracked in from outside are also common sites for slip and fall injuries.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that some 800,000 people are hospitalized because of fall injuries every year, and older adults are more prone to harm. Three million seniors receive emergency medical treatment for fall injuries annually, including hip fractures, spinal cord trauma, and brain injury. Every 20 minutes, one of these older fall victims dies.

Snow and ice slip and fall injuries

Snow, black ice, and freezing temperatures contribute to hundreds of Pittsburgh slip and fall injuries each winter. Some of the most common injuries reported include:

  • Hip and pelvis fracture
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Concussion/ head trauma
  • Back injuries such as herniated discs or compressed vertebra
  • Torn ligaments and other soft tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injury / Paralysis

These injuries are serious and can be very expensive to treat, especially if surgical intervention and rehabilitation are necessary. The consequences of severe injury – be it a broken hip or head trauma – have the potential to negatively impact one’s quality of life, hampering mobility, economic stability, and the ability to participate in normal daily activities.

National data on fall accidents speak to the immense financial cost of treatment. Once you factor in hospitalization, doctor’s fees and surgery, the average patient is looking at anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 in medical expenses.

Liability issues concerning in winter fall injuries

All pedestrians assume a certain level of risk when traveling on roadways, sidewalks, and other areas during colder months when snow and ice are prevalent. They have a duty to use reasonable caution, but they are also afforded protections under the law.

For instance, a business and property owners and/or operators are obligated to ensure their premises are properly maintained and free of potential hazards. If a property owner knew of or should have known about poor walking surface conditions, they may be found liable for any injuries that result.

As an example, retail outlets are required to ensure parking areas, sidewalks, and entryways are free of snow and ice, or post signs that caution patrons about this risk. If they fail to warn visitors about slipping hazards, or fail to correct the slippery conditions, they can be sued for monetary damages.

Steps to take after a slip and fall accident

In order to protect your legal rights after a slip and fall accident that you believe was caused by negligence, it’s important to follow these steps:

  • Report the incident to authorities detailing the circumstances of the fall
  • Provide written notice of the fall to the property owner
  • Seek medical attention even if the injuries appear minor
  • Keep all medical records and proof of out of pocket expenses
  • Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses
  • Contact a reputable personal injury lawyer

Effective & compassionate legal representation in Pittsburgh

If you suffered a serious injury after falling on another person’s property who failed to clear ice off their premises, there are legal options. At the law firm of Chaffin Luhana, our attorneys have secured hundreds of millions in damages on behalf of clients, and leverage the skill, experience, and resources to maximize the value of your claim.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you seek justice after a slip and fall injury.

Additional Resources:

  1. Safety and Health Magazine, Don’t slip up this winter https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/16523-dont-slip-up-this-winter
  2. National Safety Council, Make Fall Safety a Top Priority https://www.nsc.org/work-safety/safety-topics/slips-trips-falls
  3. National Safety Council, Fall-prevention Measures Can Keep Older Adults Independent https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/safety-topics/older-adult-falls#slips