With winter weather on the way, you need to understand how winter accident claims work. Many people become injured due to slipping and falling on ice. When this happens, sometimes businesses are at fault, while other times, no one is at fault. Know when you have a claim and know when you don't when it comes to winter weather accidents.
Slip and Fall Deaths
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17,000 people die every year just from slipping and falling. Of course, not all of these injuries are caused by ice, but the winter weather is a major contributing factor.
Falling on Private Property
If you slip and fall on private property, you could be entitled to damages. The slip and fall claims depend on the situation. When it comes to snow, there is a reasonableness of the natural accumulation rule. This means that depending on the state that you live in and the current weather situation, there can be a reasonable amount of ice or snow on the ground that has not been attended to. What is reasonable can change day by day and state by state. For example, if you live around the Great Lakes and are used to a constant mass of lake-effect snow, you should expect more ice to be on the ground than someone who lives in Texas. If it has been snowing all night long, a judge most likely won't find it unreasonable if there is a sheet of ice on the sidewalk at six in the morning. If it hasn't snowed in three days and there is still a block of ice there, the ruling could be very different.
Falling on Public Property
If you fall on public property, you could still be entitled to damages; however, it might be more difficult. Depending on the location, such as a public park, the location might state that it is maintained every week, two weeks or even less often. In such a case, the judge will most likely find it reasonable that you would expect there to be ice after it snows and count it as your fault for not being more careful. However, you can always hire a personal injury lawyer to look into the case to find out for sure.
Document your Accident
The weather changes frequently, and you need to know exact date and time that your fall took place. If you say the wrong day, the reasonableness of natural accumulation can completely change. Make sure photos of the area are taken the same day as your fall. If you are too injured to do it on your own, have a trusted friend or family member take the photos for you. Take home copies of your medical records so you can give them to your lawyer. Your medical records need to prove that you were injured badly enough to warrant compensation.
It's difficult to know what type of compensation you can expect after your slip and fall accident if you win your case. Compensation generally includes medical bills that were accumulated from the accident. You could also accumulate extra funds for pain and suffering and any mental anguish you face as a result. For example, if you became severely depressed or anxiety ridden after the accident, it would count as mental anguish. You could also receive compensation for lost wages after missing work due to your injury, and any other problems the inconvenience may have caused.
If you slip and fall on ice, you might be entitled to compensation. It all depends on the severity of the accident and what a judge decides is reasonable accumulation. However, your lawyer might be able to get the opposing party to agree to a settlement before the claim ever sees a courtroom. Make sure you obtain a slip and fall lawyer immediately and not try to file the claim on your own.