Winter Weather Injury Accidents
Jan. 21, 2019
Winter weather in Kansas is often unpredictable and can become severe very quickly. These frigid and slick conditions lead to increased personal injury accidents. Check out some of the most common concerns, as well as tips to stay safe this winter.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents are more common in winter. Snow, ice, wind, and sleet are just a few of the factors that make driving more difficult during winter months. Moving at slower speeds and increasing distance between vehicles is an easy way to decrease the likelihood of causing a motor vehicle accident in freezing temperatures.
It doesn’t take a severe winter storm to cause danger either. Colder temperatures alone can often cause “black ice” to form on roads. These thin sheets of ice are often invisible to motorists, which is why slower speeds and increased distances are encouraged to minimize chances of collisions.
Most slip and fall accidents are minor and do not result in serious injuries. Nevertheless, slip and fall injuries account for almost nine million emergency room visits every year. Sprains, broken bones, hip fractures, muscle tears, and head injuries are just some of the injuries that can occur from slip and falls. The National Safety Council says that as a person grows older, their risk of falling steadily increases. Injuries sustained by older individuals also take longer to heal properly, as resiliency is stronger in younger people.
For property owners, it’s recommended that sidewalks, exterior stairwells, and entryways are cleared to minimize fall risks. Snow and ice should be removed by property owners within a “reasonable time frame” following a winter storm. Laws specifying these removal details are often made at the local level.
For example, in Wichita, Kansas – property owners must shovel snow and ice from public sidewalks, or they can face fines and misdemeanor charges. In Prairie Village, Kansas, property owners are responsible for ice and snow removal within 24 hours of the time the winter storm ends.
To view some of the various snow removal laws in cities throughout the country, click here.
Interior Related Risks During Winter Weather
When the temperatures outside start to drop, many people seek additional sources of heat for their homes. Space heaters are commonly used to keep energy costs down. While effective, these devices can also be hazardous when left on for too long because overheating can cause these heaters to spark fires. The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following tips to avoid fire risks with space heaters:
Inspect your space heater power cord before use.
Place the heater at least two feet away from flammable items and/or water.
Remove dust from the heater prior to use.
Do not place items on top of the space heater.
Fireplaces can be even more hazardous, as real flames are used to heat the home. Proper precautions and monitoring are needed to ensure everyone’s safety. The National Fire Protection Association displays the following safety tips on their website to educate the public on fire precautions:
Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from the fireplace.
Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires.
Have fireplaces and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
Ensure that the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
When Should I Talk with A Personal Injury Lawyer?
In the event of injury, an experienced personal injury attorney can help assess the claim and provide feedback on how to proceed. It is important to contact an attorney early in slip and fall injury cases because an investigation of the area surrounding the fall must be completed sooner rather than later. A free initial consultation should be scheduled with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following the injury, as state statute of limitations can become a concern. To schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call today.