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Manhattan Slip and Fall Injury lawyer Explains - Most Common Winter Injury Hazards in NYC
Most of us, fortunately, get through the winter season without experiencing some form of painful injury. Some of us, however, are not as lucky and suffer a cold weather related injury.
According to The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the winter season is doubly menacing, increasing the chances of becoming a victim of and suffering a painful injury compared to the warmer seasons. Winters are dangerous due to slippery, icy and poor weather conditions.
Some injuries are easy to get through while others potentially can have a long term impact on your everyday life in several ways. So it is wise to be informed of the possible dangers surrounding winter activity so you can add an extra layer of safety to your checklist of winter enjoyment in order to avoid injury.
We will explore and talk about the factors of the more frequent hazards leading to injuries. Following are some of the most common winter injury hazards in NYC you should be familiar with to help you avoid, if possible, all types of injuries at all costs.
Slip and Fall Injuries in New York City
Slipping and tripping leads in most cases to falling, especially when walking on pavement, sidewalks and paths, climbing stairs or descending staircases where ice and snow have accumulated. These conditions are extremely common, making the surface icy and ideal for a slip and fall event to occur and where the ground is not your friend. Almost everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives. These fall accidents can produce severe injuries, everything from bruises, sprains, broken bones, fractures or shattered hips. The best way to avoid this is to slow down and take the extra time when walking to your destination. Whenever you go outside when there is snow and ice on the ground, wear shoes that have an extra grip or slip proof on the bottom. Also, flexible crampons with spikes can be added to most footwear to make city walking in the winter much safer.
It is the responsibility of the property and business owners to keep their adjacent sidewalks, walkways and stairs clear of slippery snow and ice to make their premises safe to travel on. If you slip and fall on someone else’s property, they are potentially liable for the personal injury you may have suffered as the result of their negligence in not timely clearing a hazardous snow and ice condition.
In New York City, “the New York City Administrative Code §16-123, entitled “Removal of snow, ice and dirt from sidewalks; property owners duties,” provides in part that:
a. Every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or other person, having charge of any building or lot of ground in the city, abutting upon any street where the sidewalk is paved, shall, within four hours after the snow ceases to fall . . . remove the snow or ice . . . from the sidewalk and gutter, the time between nine post meridian and seven ante meridian not being included in the above period of four hours.
Property and business owners are generally required to clear other portions of their property within a reasonable time after snow has fallen. If you have fallen and been injured due to a property or business owner’s negligence in failing to keep their property in a safe condition, you may have a claim for compensation.
Automobile Accidents in NYC
Ice and snow can make winter driving on slippery roads dangerous and unpredictable, increasing the rate of car or other motor vehicle accidents. According to the statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 17% of accidents in winter occur due to bad weather conditions.
Naturally, these accidents come with various types of injuries. Whiplash is one of the most common types of injury when a rear end collision occurs because another driver is unable to stop in time hitting the vehicle directly in front of him or her. More than a million Americans experience whiplash every year.
Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when your head jerks back and forth violently, which is quite common when rear end collisions occur in a chain reaction. It can often take months until neck and back symptoms abate and in some cases, pain may last for years.
In some cases it can be very difficult to determine responsibility, in others it can be easily discerned who is at fault in a car accident. But if the collision occurs due to the negligence of another driver, then that driver can be held liable and responsible for any claims for pain, suffering and economic damages. If you’re able to prove negligence for the accident and what happened then you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your pain and suffering.
Winter Frostbite Injuries in New York City
When the skin gets exposed to extremely low temperatures, it may cause frostbite. The frostbite usually affects fingers, ears, and face. It causes redness, numbness, and a needle and pin stubbing like sensation in the affected area.
When people have to work in freezing weather, they could get severe frostbites. It is the liability of the employer to keep their employees safe. So if you’re someone in a position of authority, keep rotating shifts, provide artificial warmth, and prevent the employees from staying in freezing conditions for too long.
Muscle Strain While Shoveling Snow
A strain happens when one stretches or pulls a muscle. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to have a strain with shoveling snow in winters. Shoveling is an intense physical activity and can cause strain in two ways: one that immediately happens while pulling a muscle; the other when you wake up the next day and can’t move as you have overstrained the muscle.
The American Journal of Emergency Medicine has published a study that shows strains are the most common injuries while shoveling snow. So be extra careful while clearing your pathway.
Burns From Ovens or Commercial Hot Water Heating Systems
Everyone loves to bake during winters. We all need to indulge occasionally by enjoying our baked goods like cakes and cookies. Just make sure that you are taking care of yourself when putting in and taking out all those delicious treats from the oven. Because oven burns are common, the bakery or factory owner is responsible to provide required safety gear like gloves, masks, and tongs to their workers.
Also using certain heating systems in the winter like found in older apartment units in New York City buildings potentially can cause severe burns when people or children are unaware of the extreme heat generated by some of these hot water commercial building systems, especially if they are not operating within the proper standards. Some methods of heating in the winter have unique equipment that can include water heaters, boilers utilized in commercial hot water heating systems requiring special care and maintenance.
On the positive side, many burns are minor. They may cause blisters, and then most of them can heal on their own, but they can be painful. If you get a burn, dip the burnt body part in the cool or room temperature water, and then apply antiseptic over it. Bandage it until it gets healed. However, if it’s a major burn, seek medical attention immediately. In case you face a burn injury while at work, you can seek help from a personal injury lawyer and get the compensation you deserve.
Steps to Take After a Winter Injury in NYC
No matter how cautious you are, some injuries are unavoidable. Unfortunately, if you are injured this winter, these are the steps you must take:
If you have suffered severe injuries requiring first aid or medical attention, before doing anything else, call 911 for help or proceed to the nearest hospital or health care facility to receive medical treatment as quickly as possible.
If you are injured because of winter snow and ice conditions, try to take photographs of the scene immediately as the conditions will soon change. Additionally, the exact location of your injury needs to be documented.
Police should be contacted as soon as possible to make a report.
If the injury involves a fall or a motor vehicle crash, obtain the street address of where you fell or the contact and insurance details the vehicle driver.
Information of the property where you fell or the vehicle driver and owner will be crucial if you thereafter want to obtain money damages for your injuries.
Seek legal advice from a practicing and active member of the New York State Bar to understand what legal options can be pursued.
It’s better to take preventive measures than to get involved in an injury and face the consequences, it is always better to be safe rather than being sorry later. However, if you become a victim of some kind of winter incident or accident that has caused bodily injury, then you should contact a lawyer at the Herman & Herman Law Firm. We are highly experienced New York City slip and fall injury lawyers who handle these types of liability claims occurring from NYC winter conditions. We can evaluate the merits of a claim and help you navigate the legal system to determine if you are entitled to recover compensation if negligence is found. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.