According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide. Some of these falls happen during the winter season when the road is wet and slippery due to the accumulation of snow. The danger of falling due to the slippery condition caused by the natural accumulation of ice makes it dangerous on a property.
To this end, property owners have to ensure this dangerous condition does not harm lawful visitors. However, even if the property owner takes steps to reduce the effect of the icy condition, you might still fall on an icy sidewalk. When this happens, what do you do?
Here, our premises liability attorneys discuss what you can do after falling because of an icy surface. First, contact VACAIL if you slip and fall on ice. Our legal team will examine the facts of your case and decide if you can file a personal injury claim for compensation.
What Causes Slip and Fall on Ice?
Winter weather and slippery surfaces often go hand in hand. As such, a business owner or a private property owner must take reasonable care to prevent slip and fall accidents on their premises. If they fail to do this, they’ll be liable for any injury sustained due to falling on their property.
Below are some common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Failing to properly salt parking lots, sidewalks, and entrances.
- Inadequate snow removal
- Failing to place safety mats in front of business premises or residential building
- Inadequate warning signs for wet floors and slick surfaces
A person who falls because of this hazardous condition would suffer different types of injuries. These wounds range from minor to severe. Some of the common injuries from slipping and falling on ice are:
- Head injuries/traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractures/broken bone
- Sprain/strain injuries
- Lacerations and abrasions
Since some of these injuries, like spinal compression fractures, can lead to a disability and chronic pain, ensure you get medical treatment as soon as possible. Seeking medical help will help you determine the extent of your injuries and ensure you get the right treatment. In addition, your medical record will help when seeking compensation.
What To Do After You Slip and Fall on Ice?
An injured person might be unable to take some crucial steps that would help their personal injury claim. At other times, they may not know what to do as accidents often leave people disoriented. To ensure your actions or inactions do not hurt your slip and fall injury claim, here are some steps to take when you slip and fall on ice.
Notify the Property Owner
A premises owner owes lawful visitors and licensees on their property a duty of care. It means that they must keep their property safe at all times. Thus, if their property has accumulated snow or coats of snow, they must clear it and salt the surface. If they fail to do this, and you slip and fall, you must notify them immediately. If the accident happened in a store, you could notify the manager. Similarly, if it is on an icy sidewalk in front of public property, notify the government agency in charge.
File an Incident Report
The next thing you should do is file an incident report. If it’s a business place, they will have forms for such purposes; apartment complexes also have such forms. In the report, state the following:
- The date and time of the accident
- The weather condition
- What caused you to slip and fall
- If you saw any warning sign or not
- What happened after you slipped and fell
- Injuries sustained
Ensure you keep a copy of the report to avoid the property owner or manager denying the accident happened. It is best to file the report immediately after the slip and fall if you were not severely injured. But if your injuries are severe, a relative can help you file the report, or you can enlist the services of a personal injury lawyer.
Take a Photo of the Snow and Ice
Take photos of the snow and ice around the fall area. If there are snow piles, ensure you capture them. It would help if you also took pictures of your injuries.
Speak With Witnesses
If you feel up to it, you should talk to those who witnessed the slip and fall. In addition, you can request the security footage of the accident area, especially if it happened on public property or business premises. Finally, write down the contact information of witnesses, as you may need them during the claims process.
Talk to an Experienced Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer
Only an experienced lawyer can tell you if you’re eligible for compensation after slipping and falling on ice. But, if you are, they will do all they can within the law to get you compensation.
What Compensation Can You Get for Slipping and Falling on Ice?
Every slip and fall case comes under premises liability which is a branch of personal injury law. As such, a person who slips and falls on ice will get economic and non-economic damages. If they can prove that the property owner was malicious or grossly negligent in not keeping their property safe, they get punitive damages in a lawsuit.
Economic and non-economic damages cover:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Cost of physical therapists
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Out-of-pocket expenses, etc.
Note that Virginia’s contributory negligence doctrine is a defense used by property owners to escape liability. Under this rule, if the accident could have been avoided but for your carelessness, you will not receive compensation. In addition, contributory negligence is harsh in that even if you were only 1% at fault, you would be barred from getting a settlement.
Lastly, keep in mind the Virginia Statute of Limitations for slip and fall cases. Under the law, you have two years to file a lawsuit for injuries resulting from a slip and fall. If you suffered any property damage during the fall, you have five years to file a property damage claim. The time in both cases starts counting from the accident date.
Did You Slip and Fall on Ice? Let VACAIL Law Firm Help You!
At VACAIL, our team of attorneys has the experience and legal knowledge to help you win any injury claim. We see you as a real person who suffered an injustice, and we aim to get you justice by securing the maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free case review with one of our attorneys.
Let's get started with your free consultation!