When things get icy, people are at a higher risk of slips and falls. Snow and ice on sidewalks, roads, and parking lots increase the overall amount of slip and fall accidents during winter. In fact, the National Safety Council reports that falls account for an estimated 8.9 million emergency room visits per year. With this in mind, here are some ways you can exercise caution at your property or place of business to avoid slip-and-fall liability claims and ensure that your walk-in traffic is always able to walk out.
The Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Most Missouri walking surfaces tend to get slippery during the winter due to the dangerous conditions caused by cold temperatures, snowfall, and ice. Such conditions can cause the feet of walking pedestrians to slip out from under them, causing them to land on a hard surface.
This slip and fall scenario is likely to lead to injuries such as:
- Broken ribs, ankles, and wrists
- Sprains and strains
- Fractured or broken bones
- Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
- Permanent disabilities or impairments (in severe cases)
How to Prevent Slip and Fall Injuries on Your Property
As a property owner, you have the responsibility of ensuring that all walkways and entries are maintained in a safe manner for each guest and visitor. Some of these safety measures include:
- Inspecting areas regularly – Prevention is the best cure in many ways. As a property owner, you are required to regularly check your property so you can identify hazards and correct them before they become a liability.
- Using mats – Property owners are required to use mats to soak up water brought in by people’s shoes to keep areas from becoming slippery.
- Clearing hazardous areas – Snow and ice should be removed from sidewalks and other paths immediately after a snowfall.
- Salting walkways – You are required to salt or sand your walkways after snowfall or an ice storm. This process can help eliminate dangerous slips by adding traction for people passing by.
- Posting warning signs – As a property owner, you are required to provide visitors with adequate warning of the known hazardous areas on your property. This may include setting up visible signs or sectioning off dangerous areas.
- Checking gutters – Property owners are obligated to make sure their gutters and downspouts drain water away from walkways. If directed to the sidewalks, this water could freeze and cause slippery and dangerous conditions for passersby.
Any property owner who fails to take or ignores the appropriate safety requirements could potentially be held liable for slip or fall accidents that occur on their property.
Protect Your Interests With Lanzotti & Rau
If you have a liability claim against you for a slip and fall incident that happened on your property, the experienced attorneys at Lanzotti & Rau can help. We know how to navigate the tricky waters of personal injury litigation and can successfully argue on your behalf to get you your desired results. For a free consultation to discuss your options, call us today at 573-335-9300.