From sub-zero temperatures and wind chills to spring like conditions approaching 60 degrees in less than a week.   What season is it anyway?   Not to break anybody’s spring fever, and even though the official start of spring is just a little over a month away, fact is, there is still plenty of winter to come.

With such temperature variations, comes a special set of dangers.  Ice.  Both for drivers and for pedestrians.   We have all enjoyed the milder temperatures only to wake up in the morning with a car that looks like this:

Winter weather is a well-known headache for commuters. But when people arrive at work, they have to face yet another hazard: sidewalks and parking lots that may be icy or slick.

Slip and fall accidents send more people to the emergency room than any other accident, according to the National Safety Council.

Understandably, the winter season sees a rise in those statistics.  These mishaps are often caused by conditions that include icy sidewalks, wet floors, or uneven pavement due to the build-up of snow.

Most of these accidents could be prevented if the business or property owner took responsibility to remove these hazards or if they had bold and visible signage that urged caution.

What’s more, winter-related slips and falls claims have doubled in recent years representing 29 percent of all workers’ compensation claims, according to Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and United Heartland.  Indiana leads the way.

Here’s the breakdown by states:

Indiana – 37 percent

Wisconsin – 33 percent

Michigan – 32 percent

Illinois – 32 percent

Minnesota – 29 percent

When one is injured on another person’s property, it may be a case of premises liability.

Property owners are legally required to practice “duty of care” to provide safe conditions for visitors – whether they be tenants or visitors at an apartment complex or private home, at a public facility, or customers at a place of business.

Not all slips and falls are the result of negligence on the part of a property or business owner.  You must basically prove that the owner knew of the dangerous conditions and did nothing about it.   Simple carelessness on your part doesn’t always qualify for compensation to cover the cost of treating your injuries and other damages.

An example:  We talk about the hazards of texting and driving.   Now, with so many being almost permanently attached to their cell phones, there is an increasing number of incidents caused by texting and “walking.”

Meanwhile, to avoid that trip to the emergency room, follow these simple tips* while walking on ice, snow and wet floors or sidewalks.

  • Walk slowly and deliberately and wear boots or other slip-resistant footwear.
  • Be prepared for black-ice formation after melting occurs.
  • Exercise caution when getting in and out of vehicles.
  • Watch for slippery floors when entering buildings.
  • Avoid carrying items. Keep hands empty so arms are free to move for stabilization. Use backpacks if possible.

*Source:  Accident Fund and United Heartland

If you do believe that a slip and fall was caused by an irresponsible property owner, contact Tauber Law Offices immediately.  It would also be of great help if you were able to take photographs of the hazardous portion of the property where your accident took place and get the names and numbers of any witnesses.   Under no conditions should you accept a settlement from the property owners or their insurance company until you talk to us.  The fact is, some injuries don’t fully become evident until days or even weeks later.

Tauber Law will investigate your case and work aggressively to win compensation to help pay those growing medical bills and possible loss of income as a result.

Your family of attorneys at Tauber Law Offices hope that you have a safe and enjoyable winter season.  What’s left of it anyway!