Ice on sidewalks and in parking lots is a hazard that causes thousands of falls each year. Most of these falls result in little more than wet pants, a bruised bottom and embarrassment. But some of these can be serious.
If a person hits her head, for instance, then she can have a concussion, which may develop into a number of different, often more-severe conditions.
What steps should be taken after a fall?
Have any and all injuries checked by a medical professional, no matter how minor they may seem at the time of the accident. If you bump your head and begin to feel dizzy, go to the Emergency Room. Do not attempt to move a person who has injured her neck or spine. A person who slips on ice will likely feel embarrassed, but don’t let these feelings cloud the importance of personal health.
Witnesses can help at the scene of an accident by calling for an ambulance, gathering your personal items, and providing warmth and comfort. Bystanders can take pictures of the offending icy patch and surrounding areas for evidence.
While waiting for an ambulance or seated in the doctor’s office, take pictures of the injury. This is also a good time to debrief the situation. Write down the general timeline and events of the fall, as these may be important later. Once a doctor has checked the injury and given treatment, ask for a copy of the documentation of the injury.
Finally, consider contacting an attorney before speaking to insurance agents or other parties. An insurance company’s profitability is dependent upon minimizing compensation to injured parties. Having a qualified attorney represent your interest can even the playing field.
What are an employer’s responsibilities?
Employers have a responsibility to make sure that their premises are safe for both their customers and their employees. This duty includes ensuring that ice is kept off sidewalks and parking lots so that customers and employees can enter the place of business safely. Many businesses hire a service to perform this task or rely on the landlord to do so.
If a fall occurs, the injured person can often be compensated by both the employer for the on-the-job injury and also by the company hired to keep the sidewalks and lots clear. Keep all documentation from the time of the accident, including pictures of the ice, the injury, and the timeline of the events. These may be useful in receiving fair compensation.
Every year we handle cases involving slips on ice. Hopefully, everyone makes it to spring without injury, but if you or someone you know has been injured due to a fall at work or at a business because of an icy sidewalk or parking lot, call us. We may be able to help.