Winter is in full swing, but that doesn't mean you need to stay inside. However, walking safely in wintry conditions may be a hazard if you're not careful. According to a local news source, one way to stay safe this winter is to actually "walk like a penguin"! As funny as it sounds, taking these shorter, waddling steps may keep you more stable on the ice and help you avoid a slip and fall injury.
Do you sometimes enter a retail store or other public establishment and think "Huh, well THAT sidewalk/ramp/curb/entrance/puddle doesn't look safe". Chances are, you are probably right. Sometimes, these unsafe walking conditions lead to accidents, which then makes those businesses potentially liable for slip-and-fall lawsuits. One such accident occurred recently at a Big Lots in San Diego, CA. A woman fell in a Big Lots after she slipped and fell on a patch of dirt of the floor, which caused her to fall into a soda display shelf. As a result, she developed shoulder and neck injuries, had multiple surgeries, and required physical therapy afterwards. The injured party's attorney reported that Big Lots doesn't have a set sweeping schedule, and instructs employees to sweep "as needed". They implied that this lack of cleaning schedule may have, in part, contributed to the conditions responsible for this accident. The results of this trial have not been released yet, but it will be interesting to see what happens.
Are you up-to-date on winter safety practices? During this season, people have to take extra precautions due to the weather. This is especially true when you are out walking. According to our own regional UPMC website, there are many preventative measures you can take to prevent winter accidents. Some of their suggestions include:
An eastern PA area man is suing his apartment complex in a recent case highlighted through PennRecord.com. According to the report, the resident broke his leg after falling on the parking lot in February 2016. The man alleges that there was a significant amount of ice and snow on the parking lot that had not been properly removed by the building's management services. The resident is suing the apartment complex for failing to maintain the apartment complex exterior in safe condition, given the winter weather.
- Make sure that your walkway, sidewalk and/or steps are well-lit and visible from the street to your front door.
- Make sure that any dangerous conditions on walkways, sidewalks and steps are repaired or marked clearly to let people know of the dangerous conditions
- Remove anything that may cause an individual to trip or fall while on your property, i.e., decorations and extension cords.
Premises liability cases are more common than what many people may think. This one particular case, however, resulted in a very large claim for a York, PA man. According to news reports, an 80-year-old man was at a shopping center in York Township when he tripped over an unmarked step, and his head and face went into the edge of a chair of a neighboring tattoo parlor. The corresponding fall did extensive damage, including the loss of vision in one eye. This injury left him functionally blind. After the man took legal action, he was recently awarded four million dollars for injuries. For more on the news report, please click here.
According to the website PennRecord.com, a site that highlights many PA lawsuits, a case was recently settled in the Philly area regarding a slip and fall incident in Macy's. Within the article, it states that a woman was injured at a Macy's department store after tripping and falling on a rubber-edged floor mat near the entrance/exit area of the store. As a result of her fall, she sustained serious facial, arm, back, and leg injuries. The long-term effects of her fall also included secondary issues including insomnia, depression, and anxiety. The case was settled outside of court for an undisclosed amount.
In the Philadelphia area, a couple is has sued Wal-Mart for negligence on the store's part, which the couple felt led to a slip-and-fall accident. The couple were shopping a Wal-Mart when one of them slipped on oil that was spilled on the floor. The woman who fell sustained injuries to her spine, hip, and knees. The couple is seeking damages of about $50,000 as a result.
Once again, it is worth the reminder to make sure that you're being careful out on the ice! A recent news story out of our neighboring state of New York covered a lawsuit involving a slip-and-fall on the ice. The story involved a medical worker who broke her ankle when she slipped and fell on the ice of her employer's building. This injury caused a required surgery and prolonged recovery period. The worker sued the building owner and the managing real estate agent, among others. According to reports, there was a thin layer of snow on the parking lot which covered up the ice. The grade of the parking lot caused frequent problems with water pooling, which caused ice to form in freezing conditions. The lawsuit claims that the defendants were aware of the pooling conditions in the parking lot, but didn't act to fix the problem.