Do Slip and Fall Accidents Increase in Winter?

Posted on: December 27, 2022

Winter is upon us, ushering in an increase in personal injury accidents along with the cold, snow, and ice. As temperatures drop, parking lots, sidewalks, and other walking areas become snow-covered, icy, or slushy, creating dangerous conditions for slip and fall accidents.

According to the CDC, medical costs for winter slip and fall accidents exceed more than $15 billion annually. Injuries from slip and fall accidents during winter are often minor, such as bruises or sprains, but slippery and cold conditions can lead to serious injuries as well, such as traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and fractures.

What Are Common Winter Slip and Fall Hazards?

Almost any outdoor activity during the winter months can result in slip and fall injuries due to wet, snowy, and icy conditions. Some of the most common hazards include:

  • Ice and snow on sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots.
  • Uneven sidewalks and curbs due to upheaval in cold temperatures.
  • Unsecured floor mats at building entrances.
  • Wet floors or mats from tracked in snow and slush.
  • Unseen curbs due to snow coverage.
  • Uncleared snow between cars and trampled snow that turns to ice.
  • Poor visibility due to weather conditions.
  • Sloped, snow-covered, or icy surfaces, such as ramps.
  • Wet, snowy, or muddy shoe soles.

How Can I Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents in Winter?

Winter’s cold temperatures, snow, and ice create ideal conditions for slip and fall accidents. However, you can minimize your risk of injury by taking preventive actions, such as:

  • Appropriate footwear: Wear warm, solid shoes with rubber soles or grip and texture for good traction to provide you more stability while walking on snow and ice. Avoid plastic or leather soles and high-heeled shoes.
  • Shuffling: In slippery conditions, do the “penguin shuffle” instead of walking. Shuffle slowly without picking up your feet to lower your risk of losing balance. If walking, take shorter steps, walk slowly, and walk on the more textured snowy or grassy areas.
  • Free your hands: Being off-balance is a common reason people fall in winter, and walking with your hands in your pockets puts you off-balance and reduces your ability to catch yourself. Without free hands, you are more at risk of a severe head injury or broken bones. Wear gloves, and avoid being distracted by your cell phone. Wear a backpack if you need to carry items with you.
  • Use both feet: When exiting a vehicle, swing both legs out and put both feet on the ground before standing, which provides more stability.
  • Stay on the path: Walk only in designated walkways that have been cleared, such as sidewalks, rather than taking uncleared shortcuts to your destination.
  • Look before walking: Watch for wet floors and unsecured mats at entryways.
  • Use handrails: If available, hold onto a handrail for more stability. This also allows you something to hold onto if you start to fall, possibly preventing the fall.
  • Plan ahead: Moving more slowly when walking is important during winter, so give yourself extra time to reach your destination so you will not have to rush.

If you sustain injuries from the fall, call for help on your cell phone or to a passersby. If you are in a public space, such as a store or office building, alert a manager or the owner to make a report of the accident. This is an important step should you file an insurance claim later, particularly if your fall is due to the property owner’s negligence.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you think your injuries are only minor. Several conditions do not present symptoms for hours or days but can be life-threatening if left untreated. A doctor’s medical evaluation is also a crucial record needed to file a successful injury claim.

Hazlet Slip and Fall Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Represent Clients Injured Due to Winter Conditions

Winter is the prime season for slip and fall accidents due to snowy and icy conditions. If you have been injured by another’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Our experienced Hazlet slip and fall lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can help. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.