Winter Weather Related Slip and Fall Accidents
While most of Florida enjoys balmy winter weather which draws tourists from around the world, North Florida is unique in that we experience below zero temperatures for a number of days each winter. While the cold is usually just an annoyance especially in the early morning, an overnight freeze usually leaves a thin coating of ice on sidewalks and walkways which can create a slip and fall hazard.
For any age, a weather-related slip and fall can be devastating and leave lasting injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are a million or so Americans injured in a fall accident and more than 17,000 people die in a slip and fall injury in the U.S. every year. Medical costs associated with occupational slip and falls are $70 billion annually.
Floridians generally are not used to these conditions and should take extra care when walking in adverse weather. For a young person a slip and fall might just be an embarrassment, but for a Florida resident who is frail, a hard fall on ice can mean a broken hip, spinal cord, brain or head injury.
Tourists also may not expect that Florida has this type of icy hazard and pedestrians are particularly at risk if they attempt to navigate Florida streets not known for being pedestrian friendly even in the best of conditions, but especially in rain or freezing rain conditions. An older population may also be susceptible to falls because they may be taking medications that make them less steady on their feet.
For the property owner, it is important to reduce this hazard by making sure that a place of business or sidewalk is not slippery in adverse weather conditions. Reduce clutter and anything that present a tripping hazard. For those who have been in a slip and fall accident in ice or rain, it’s important to note the conditions at the time of your fall.
What was the adverse weather that caused you to slip? How was the tread on your shoes? Were there any holes in the sidewalk or uneven pavement?
A property owner or landlord who can reasonably expect there will be visitors into his place of business in winter weather has an obligation to maintain his property in a safe condition no matter what the weather brings. If a slip and fall accident causes a severe injury of the head, neck, spinal cord, broken bones or any other type of trauma, a slip and fall or premises liability action may be filed.
An experienced Florida premises liability attorney will determine that that the owner knew the property was in a less than safe condition and failed to warn visitors or correct the situation. If you have been injured by a weather-related slip and fall you may be able to recover some of your medical costs as well as pain and suffering and lost wages.