When snow or ice causes a fall, the consequences may not seem serious at first. However, some injuries that may result from this type of accident can cause pain and injuries that could last for years on end or require physical therapy as part of a recovery program. The National Floor Safety Institute notes that more than eight million people a year visit emergency rooms due to slip-and-fall injuries, including those caused by snow and ice. A closer look into how these falls happen, when negligence might cause them and when to contact a lawyer may help you decide whether to pursue any legal action.
Snow and Ice Fall Injuries
While a winter landscape can appear beautiful, it may also hide some significant risks for slip-and-fall injuries and even death. In fact, winter weather causes more deaths than heat-related illnesses in the United States each year. In some cases, these falls occur because slippery ice often vanishes under new snowfall, especially on sidewalks and pathways. Such falls can lead to serious injuries, such as:
- Hip fractures
- Head injuries
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
Many of these injuries can have long-term effects. Brain injuries, in particular, can cause many issues, including memory loss, personality changes and future balance issues. Such problems may affect your ability to work or take care of your family.
The Dangers of Slip-and-Fall Injuries
One serious possible danger of an injury that results from a fall is that it may become more serious as time goes on. This is especially true of older individuals who experience a fall, as their health can fail quickly after a hip fracture caused by a fall. Brain hematoma, also known as an intracranial hematoma, may take hours or days to occur as blood gathers inside the brain tissue or outside the skull. As bleeding continues unchecked, it may cause several serious side effects, including:
You may even experience seizures if the hematoma is large enough or goes undetected. Some of these events can cause life-threatening results, even if you did not feel serious pain directly after the fall.
Negligent Handling of Snow and Ice
While some slip-and-fall incidents have little to do with the actions of other people, yours might have occurred because a property owner failed to clear away ice or snow on a driveway, a set of steps or a pathway that leads to a home or commercial property entrance. Packed snow is often slippery, especially after a partial thaw, and new snow can conceal the layer of ice caused by the thaw.
If you fell on someone’s property because they neglected to use snow salt or shovel snow aside, you can likely claim that they failed in a duty of care and that their actions directly caused your injuries. While some homeowner policies cover individuals who get injured, holding a property owner liable for negligence is not always possible. If the person you believe acted negligently does not carry homeowners’ insurance or the coverage they carry offers a limited payout, you may want to consider taking legal action.
How To Find a Slip-and-Fall Attorney
You may feel hesitant about filing a slip-and-fall lawsuit, especially if you have no experience with legal proceedings, but such a case can help you recover both physically and financially. You may include a variety of damages and losses, including:
- Loss of wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Medical bills
- The cost of therapy equipment
If you believe the property owner acted with particular negligence or carelessness that caused your fall, you can ask an attorney about filing punitive damages, which often include pain and suffering or emotional distress. However, you may want to keep in mind that your attorney must prove the act of negligence in court, especially as you move forward with choosing legal counsel, as some attorneys may have more experience with seeking punitive damage than others.
Map Out Your Case
Before you hire an attorney, you may want to take the time to map out your case so the lawyer you choose can review it with ease. You can prepare a written statement that describes the injury and you can include a variety of details, such as:
- The location of the incident
- The owner of the property
- The condition of the terrain where you fell
- The injuries you sustained
- Whether you went to the hospital or saw a doctor
Providing an attorney with as many details as possible carries several advantages. For example, it may assist your lawyer with putting a monetary value to your case and help prove its overall validity. If possible, include photos of the area and of your injuries to provide your attorney with evidence.
Asking friends and family members about their experience with legal assistance and court cases can help you find an attorney that fits not only the circumstances of your case but your wants and needs as well. Once you gather several recommendations, browse reviews online so you can gauge whether any of them seem like a good match.
Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation so they can review your case for viability. You can take advantage of these offers to make the most informed choice possible. Remember to keep deadline statutes in mind and file as soon as you can.
As you gather materials for a slip-and-fall snow and ice case, collecting the proper documents can assist your attorney with creating a strong case. Gather and organize all medical bills, including emergency room or urgent care costs, prescribed medication expenses and X-rays or MRI scans doctors ordered when you sought care.
Insurance documents can also help strengthen your case. If the property owner carries homeowners’ insurance, ask for the name of the company and for any contact details. If the insurance company contacts you first, write down the date and time of all phone calls or texts, particularly those that deal with a settlement offer.
Keep An Injury Journal
With all the details that make up your personal injury slip-and-fall case, the injuries you suffered and how they affect your daily life often make up the core of the suit. Keeping an injury journal can provide your lawyer with a variety of information, including how the injuries impact your day-to-day activities, how they impact the quality of your work, and whether your current pain management plan requires increased medication or tools, such as a walker.
You might also consider keeping track of your pain levels each day and whether you feel more pain in the injured area as time goes on. In some cases, increased pain after an injury may indicate the need for more medical procedures, such as surgery to repair a torn tendon or damaged cartilage.
Let Us Fight for You
Life after a slip-and-fall accident on ice or snow can change drastically, and at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we understand how the financial burden of medical bills and lost wages can affect you and your family. We will fight for your rights and hold negligent individuals responsible for your injuries and other damages so you can move on with confidence. Come chat with or contact us about your case; there’s no obligation, just information,® and we want to hear from you today.