The winter season brings with it holiday festivities, cozy moments by the fireplace, and the magic of snow-covered streets. Amidst the beauty of the season, however, there are hidden dangers that can turn Massachusetts’s winter wonderland into an accident scene. Slip and fall accidents are a common occurrence during the winter months, and understanding the factors that contribute to these incidents is critical to staying safe.
The Cold Reality of Slip and Fall Statistics:
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and fall accidents account for over one million emergency room visits each year. While not all of these are winter-related, a substantial percentage occur when icy and slippery conditions are present. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) further reports that one out of five falls results in a serious injury, such as a head injury or bone fractures. Although slip and fall accidents affect all age groups and demographics, the risk of serious injury and death rises dramatically with age.
The Culprits Behind Slip and Fall Accidents
In Massachusetts, winter introduces several factors that contribute to the rise in slip and fall accidents:
- Icy Sidewalks and Parking Lots — The most apparent hazard during winter is the formation of ice on sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways. These icy surfaces become incredibly slippery, making it easy to lose footing.
- Snow-Covered Stairs and Walkways — Freshly fallen snow may look beautiful, but it quickly becomes hazardous when it’s trampled down or partially melts and refreezes, creating treacherous patches on stairs and walkways.
- Poorly Maintained Properties — Property owners, both residential and commercial, are responsible for ensuring their premises are safe. Failing to adequately clear snow and ice can lead to dangerous conditions for visitors and customers.
- Inadequate Lighting — The shorter days of winter mean that it’s dark for more extended periods. Inadequate lighting can obscure hazards and make it challenging to identify icy patches or uneven surfaces.
- Wet Floors — Entryways and foyers can become wet from melting snow brought inside by pedestrians. These wet surfaces can quickly turn into slippery danger zones.
Staying Safe During Massachusetts Winters
With winter approaching, it’s essential to take precautions and stay vigilant to avoid slip and fall accidents. Here are some proactive steps to take this winter season:
- Wear appropriate footwear — Choose shoes with good traction and slip-resistant soles.
- Walk carefully — Take smaller steps and walk at a slower pace, especially on icy surfaces.
- Use handrails — When navigating stairs, hold onto handrails for support.
- Be mindful of wet floors — Keep an eye out for wet spots when entering buildings, and use mats if available.
- Shovel and salt — Property owners should promptly remove snow and apply salt or sand to icy surfaces.
- Maintain proper lighting — Ensure that outdoor areas are well-lit to identify hazards.
- Report unsafe conditions — If you notice dangerous conditions in public areas or on private property, report them to the property owner or relevant authorities.
Contact a Massachusetts Slip and Fall Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident in Massachusetts, the legal team at Altman & Altman Trial Attorneys can help. Our experienced injury lawyers have an impressive track record of obtaining full compensation for our clients in a timely manner.
When a property owner’s negligence causes you harm, it is in your best interest to seek immediate legal counsel. We are here to protect your rights and help you get the compensation and justice you deserve. Contact Altman & Altman Trial Attorneys today at 617-492-3000 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.