With the recent weather changes, Americans have had to deal with extreme cold and snow in places where it normally doesn’t occur. The infrastructure and public services of these warmer cities isn’t quite prepared for the onslaught of freezing temperature, icy roads, and snow showers. As a result, these areas have seen an increase in weather-related personal injuries.
The S.E. Farris Law Firm has put together some of the most common cold weather-related injuries.
Slips and falls
When unexpected ice coats walkways, or melted snow makes entrances slippery, people can slip or fall and injure themselves. These falls can result in injuries that range from minor to very serious, and many will require some medical attention. Public places of business and government organizations are required to clear any slip hazards from their walkways and floors, and place proper signage in the area to warn people of the danger. When they unreasonably fail to do so, anyone who’s injured due to a fall may be entitled to compensation for their damages.
Some people manage to navigate the snowy conditions and icy roads without incident, but others may have difficulty. When car accidents result from icy weather and either the property owner or the driver of the other car is negligent, the injured party may be able to recover monetary damages for her losses.
Occasionally, people are injured when the cold causes a frozen pipe to burst, or the infrastructure under the ground gives way due to cold weather. People can fall and become seriously injured when infrastructure is not properly prepared for freezing temperatures. When this happens, the property owner or government may have to pay for injuries incurred during the incident. This will depend on whether the problem could have reasonably been prevented.
People that work outdoors, such as construction workers, delivery people, and window washers, still must do their job, even during a polar vortex. It is their employers’ responsibility to ensure that they are not exposed to hypothermia due to spending too much time outdoors. Employers can avoid this by requiring frequent breaks indoors, providing heaters where safe, and ensuring that warm clothing can be safely worn.
Cold weather inspires some creative ways to keep warm. Space heaters, open fires, and propane heaters all give off warmth, but can be unsafe. Gas heaters may leak carbon monoxide, also known as “the silent killer” because it does not give off an odor and carbon monoxide poisoning can occur without symptoms. Space heaters and open flames can lead to fires, which can lead to injury or death. If a person is injured due to a fire set by someone else’s carelessness, whether it’s a consumer or manufacturer, she may be able to receive compensation for her injuries.
This winter appears to be endless, and just when people start to dig themselves out, it seems like they’re snowed right back in. A more detailed description of areas affected by the polar vortex is available here, through Maps of the World.com. This inclement weather can cause serious injuries, especially if you’re not used to snowy, cold weather. If you experience injury of any kind due to someone else’s negligence in this winter deep freeze, contact an attorney to find out what kind of compensation you may be entitled to.
Spencer Farris is an attorney for The S.E. Farris Law Firm, with years of experience in personal injury law. You can connect with him through Google+.