Snowy Sidewalk

A popular saying for Chicagoans in the middle of winter has long been, “if you don’t like the weather, stick around because it will change.” It is an adage to which people cling tightly as 2018 starts off with bitter cold and dangerous wind chills. Sub-zero temperatures present hazards everywhere, from frozen pipes at home to icy roadways. For those who must do some walking in these treacherous conditions, icy and deceptively slick sidewalks can lead to painful slips and falls.

Frostbite can occur within 10 minutes of exposure to below-zero temperatures. Preparing to go outside in such conditions involves making sure no skin is exposed to the elements. That means bundling up in layers using bulky coats, hats, and gloves, and even a face mask or scarf to cover your face. While this will provide protection from the cold and wind, it can also add to the potential dangers by limiting your mobility and visibility, causing a slower pace in a situation where you actually need get to your destination as quickly as possible.

Wide Range of Injuries Caused by Winter Slips and Falls

One positive result of wearing bulky clothing needed in extreme cold is that it inadvertently provides some additional padding and protection against falls. Nonetheless, sidewalks and streets are quite unforgiving and can still cause some serious damage upon impact. Among the injuries which can be sustained by a fall include:

  • Abrasions and lacerations
  • Bumps, bruises, and contusions
  • Concussion and other head injuries
  • Fractures
  • Joint sprains
  • Muscle strains

While the effects of a fall are often minor aches and pains that will last a few days, but serious, lasting injuries or even death, can also result. Some life-changing effects of a slip and fall injury can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages and additional out-of-pocket expenses
  • Temporary or permanent disability
  • Depression
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Death

Let’s Be Careful Out There

Proceed with Caution, and Warm Shoes!

In addition to dressing properly, there are some steps you can take as you head out into extreme cold conditions.

  • Slow Down: Concentrate on the path ahead, take your time and proceed slowly.
  • Pay Attention: Be aware of changes in walking surfaces. Falls often happen when someone doesn't realize they are leaving a secure area for a slippery one.
  • Safest Route: Where possible, avoid slippery surfaces and obviously slippery hazards, such as wet leaves, icy areas and snow banks.
  • It’s Gotta Be the Shoes: Wear appropriate shoes or boots with rough soles and change into work shoes at your destination. The inconvenience of changing shoes is insignificant compared to the pain caused by a serious fall-related injury.

Contact Personal Injury Attorney to Determine Slip and Fall Liability

Snowy ChicagoYou can do everything right in preparing for the extreme weather conditions the Chicago area is experiencing to start 2018, and still be hurt in a slip and fall accident caused by the negligence of others.
According to the Municipal Codes of Chicago and of many surrounding communities, property owners and occupants are responsible for keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice. If a business owner or homeowner has not properly kept up with the basic standards of preparation for the safety of others on their premises, they could be liable for your fall and be held responsible for the expense and pain of your resulting injuries.

If you have been injured in a fall on the premises of another, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Cooney & Conway. Call toll free 800-322-5573 to speak with a knowledgeable representative, or complete the Case Evaluation contact form on this page and a qualified associate will promptly respond to your inquiry.

Sources: 
https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/hazards_precautions.html
https://emergency.appstate.edu/sites/emergency.appstate.edu/files/documents/Avoiding%20Slips.pdf

Steve Koek is the Digital Marketing Manager at Cooney & Conway, and is responsible for the administration of the firm's web site and social media platforms. He can be reached at skoek@cooneyconway.com or through LinkedIn