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Watch your step! Lawyers warn, it’s slip and fall season

person crossing the street as car comes around cornerIt’s slick out there today. Winter in our home region of Northeast Pennsylvania means the roads, parking lots, and sidewalks are likely to be slippery this time of year.
Slip and fall injuries are more common than you might think – according to the National Floor Safety Institute,  8 million people end up in the emergency room each year as the result of a fall. Slip and fall incidents are also the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and lost days from work.

The results of a slip and fall can be very serious. Injuries can range from sprains and bruises to broken bones, back, neck, spine, or brain injuries.

Elderly people are even more at risk for falls. The New York Times recently published a fascinating two-part series titled, “After the Fall,” illustrating the risks faced by America’s aging population, and how a fall can be a life-altering event. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among the elderly, and many older adults who suffer a fall can no longer live independently or enjoy the same quality of life.

Can an establishment be held accountable for your slip and fall?

Business owners do have some degree of responsibility to keep their customers and employees safe. Depending on the circumstances, a business or property owner may be liable if unsafe conditions lead to a serious slip and fall injury.

Jervon White, a woman from Illinois, slipped on some liquid at a TGI Fridays in November and is now suing the restaurant chain, seeking damages for her substantial medical bills.

In the winter, and especially during the holiday shopping season, businesses and retailers may have a more difficult time keeping their premises safe for customers and employees. Hordes of customers tracking in snow and slush make store floors slippery, and a staff struggling to keep up with the crowds might not immediately address the hazard.  Crowds of shoppers also mean an increased likelihood of hazardous clutter: stacked boxes, merchandise,  stray shopping carts and baskets can call cause a trip and fall.  Outside, parking lots and sidewalks can become icy very quickly.

Tips for avoiding a slip and fall injury

  • Stay alert – watch for icy spots outside of stores, in parking lots, and on sidewalks.
  • Wear rubber-soled shoes or boots – carry dress shoes separately until you reach your destination.
  • Keep your hands free and out of your pockets – keeping your hands free will help you keep your balance, and brace yourself in case of a slip.
  • Take your time – test questionable surfaces without using the full weight of your body before proceeding. Don’t run or jog on icy roads.
  • Use handrails whenever possible.
  • If you see a slip and fall hazard while in a store or a restaurant – like wet floor without a “wet floor” sign – bring it to an employee or manager’s attention.

If you have suffered a slip and fall injury, contact the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 855-866-5529.

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