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Falling into winter: How to avoiding slip and trip dangers

Winter is on the doorstep. The extended autumn has been wonderful, but some important precautions can avoid slips and falls during the colder months.

Older individuals are more prone to injuries after a fall, because of the toll age takes on muscles and bones. Balance problems can land an elderly individual on the ground after a small trip or slip. But winter spares no one. People of all ages, genders and sizes fall in the winter while walking on slippery sidewalks or other areas that haven't been properly shoveled or de-iced.

As we wait for the first appreciable snow of the season, here is an important reminder. New York landowners are responsible for properly removing snow and ice from the sidewalk in front, behind and on the sides of their property. Compensation may be available through a personal injury lawsuit if the failure to properly remove snow or ice leads to a fall and subsequent trip to the hospital.

It's not just winter

Winter isn't the only worry. Uneven sidewalks, potholes, subway grates and raised cracks in sidewalks or parking lots can lead to problems in any season. Dim or missing lighting in parking lots, stairwells and sidewalks also lead to more dangerous conditions. It can be impossible to see a pothole or anticipate a step.

When it comes to parking lots and stairwells, owners are responsible for maintenance and upkeep to keep them safe. When owners skip their duties in an effort to minimize their costs or they are too busy to be bothered, they can often be held liable for their inaction.

How to avoid falling in the first place

Slush and snow can cover icy surfaces and even rain can obscure your path. Being careful requires precautions - some of these are obvious:

  • Watch where you step
  • Avoid distractions like texting
  • Never drag your feet

Consider a University of Oklahoma report found that those over the age of 65 years account for three-fourths of all deaths caused by falls. In addition, almost half of those in this age category fall at least once each year. Age leads to a higher susceptibility to serious injury and one in 40 of these 65+ falls leads to a hospital visit.

Maintain muscle and bone health by staying active. Lifting weights can also become increasingly valuable as we age. Tai chi and yoga are often recommended to help with balance.

Your health is important. Broken bones can derail your normally active lifestyle. If concerns arise about the cause of the fall, schedule a free consultation with one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Weisfuse & Weisfuse LLP.

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