A serious slip and fall accident could lead to spending the majority of your winter in the hospital. After a slip and fall accident, a victim is not always able to get right back on his or her feet. Some falls cause major injuries, such as broken bones, hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Keep yourself safe this winter with these slip and fall prevention tips.
A slip and fall can occur at any time of year, but ice and snow increase the chances of this type of accident. These are common risks in the Pacific Northwest; for example, Washington gets an average of 10 to 30 inches of annual snowfall at lower elevations and as much as 500 inches in the mountains. During the winter months, keep up with weather reports and predictions in your area. This can help you keep track of when your driveway may have snow or ice accumulation, allowing you to plan ahead.
Clear a Safe Path
A large percentage of winter slip and fall accidents happen right at home, on staircases and in driveways. You can reduce your risk by clearing a safe path for you to walk each day, such as to your car or mailbox. Shovel snow off your driveway and consider using salt to clear a path. You can also use a traction agent, such as cat litter or wood shavings, to make surfaces less slippery. If you are renovating your home, consider installing a heated driveway to melt snow as it falls.
If the weather report is predicting a large amount of rain, snow, ice, hail or sleet, stay home, if you can. Staying inside in bad weather could protect you from a severe slip and fall accident. If your errands outside of the home can wait for a nicer day, waiting the extra time could save you from suffering a serious injury.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
Footwear goes a long way in preventing slip and fall accidents in winter weather. Invest in a sturdy pair of shoes that are slip-resistant and can help you keep your balance even on wet or slick surfaces. Examples include waterproof boots, winter boots, thermal all-terrain boots, hiking boots and snow boots. Replace your winter shoes once the outsole becomes worn down and loses its traction.
You may be able to prevent a slip and fall accident just by reducing your pace in the wintertime. Allow yourself extra time in winter to travel slowly. Slowing down can help you avoid a fall and notice hazards in the pathway as you approach. Change your walking style to accommodate dangerous winter elements, such as ice. Take smaller, shorter and slower steps. Rushing or running increases the risk of catching a slippery patch on the ground and suffering a bad fall.
Special Considerations for Older Adults
If you are over the age of 65, you are at a higher risk of falls. You are also at a higher risk of suffering serious and fatal injuries in a slip and fall accident. If you fall once, your chances of falling again are doubled. Take these risks seriously. Stay inside or get assistance when walking to avoid major falls. Warm up your joints and muscles with some easy movements and exercises before heading out. Staying limber can decrease your risk of falls.
How to Fall Correctly
No matter how hard you try, you may find yourself falling down at least once this winter. Learn how to fall correctly to minimize your risk of injury. If you feel yourself falling, don’t put out your hands or arms to catch yourself. Instead, try to fall on your buttocks or roll onto your back. Instead of immediately springing back up, stay where you are and assess yourself for injuries. Then, wait for someone to help you get safely to your feet.
If you get injured in a slip and fall accident this winter, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney at NW Injury Law Center for a legal consultation. The owner of the premises may be responsible for your slip and fall.