The fall season brings cooler temperatures and more volatile weather, along with exceptional fall colors. The annual seasonal change from the warm summertime months to the cold winter days means more slip and fall accidents.
More than 1 million people suffer injuries from slip and fall accidents every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Slip and fall injuries can cause the person to miss work. Many people believe slip and fall injuries are minor, but a slip and fall injury can cost between $30,000 and $40,000. For this reason, everyone should be familiar with autumn-related slip and falls.
Wind, Rain, and Wet Leaves Create New Dangers
As trees shed their leaves during the fall months, those leaves create hazards. Leaves blow into doorways, land on walkways, and can accumulate in parking areas. When it rains, leaves act like sponges and absorb water, which makes them walking hazards. When the fall air turns cold, wet leaves can freeze and cause slip and fall accidents to happen.
A small pile of leaves could conceal dangerous conditions in walkways and parking areas. Leaves naturally collect in lower areas and depressions where gravity holds them when the wind blows them around. A small collection of leaves in one spot could conceal a hole or other condition that could cause you to turn your ankle and suffer a significant injury from a fall.
It is very important for property owners to maintain their entryways, walkways, and parking areas when fall leaves start to accumulate. Even a small pile of dry leaves could cause people to lose their footing and slip, trip, or fall. If a recent rainfall made conditions wetter than normal, the potential for slip and fall injuries is greater.
Puddles Hide Dangers
Fall rainfall can be heavy at times and cause a significant amount of puddling on the ground. Many parking areas and walkways can suffer minor damage throughout the year and collect pools of water. Those puddles are often murky or brown and conceal what lay beneath the surface. If you step in a puddle thinking it is just a minor amount of water on the pavement, you could lose your footing and suffer an injury.
If the outdoor temperature drops to below freezing, a puddle could freeze. A frozen puddle can be slippery and difficult to see. That is why it is important for property owners to use snowmelt, sand, rock salt, or other measures to prevent icing. Taking reasonable steps can prevent ice buildup and make conditions safer for pedestrians.
Steps and Uneven Surfaces Create Tripping Hazards
Stairways that are exposed to the outdoor elements can be dangerous during the fall. If leaves blow onto the steps or rainfall dampens them, they could create a slipping hazard. The warmer summer months and cooler fall weather could also cause one or more steps to become loose, making it harder to safely walk up and down stairways.
Many outdoor walkways and parking areas also suffer damage throughout the year. Loosened paving stones, cracked asphalt, and uneven walkways could fall into disrepair as the colder fall months arrive. Whenever you have unstable footing, a trip and fall hazard exists. The property owners are responsible for properly maintaining steps, walkways, and parking areas to eliminate hazards.
Sun Glare and Dark Nights Hide Hazards
The fall weather creates low-lying sunshine during busy times of the day and longer nights. When driving, walking, or biking during the morning sunrise, the light can be blinding. The same goes for the early evening hours when walking. The combination of direct sunlight and sun glare off of the pavement can make it hard to see where you are going.
Fall brings longer and colder nights in New Jersey. The sun sets much earlier after the early November time change. That means more people on foot during nighttime hours. A lack of proper outdoor lighting could hide dangerous conditions.
What Is the Responsibility of a Property Owner?
Owners of stores and other places that you might visit during the fall months have a duty of care to ensure you are reasonably safe from harm. If a property owner ignores the accumulation of leaves, water, or other dangerous conditions, you might suffer a slip and fall injury. Property owners are required to take reasonable steps to prevent dangerous conditions.
In order to pursue a personal injury claim for a slip and fall injury, the following must be evident:
- The property owner had a duty of care to ensure your safety.
- A dangerous condition existed that the property owner did not reasonably address.
- A dangerous condition caused you to suffer an injury.
- Your injury inflicted financial damages, including medical bills and time away from work.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you might need to obtain help from a lawyer. A lawyer can help you build a strong case against the property owner.
Mount Laurel Slip and Fall Lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman Can Help You Pursue a Claim Against a Negligent Property Owner
The fall season creates unique dangers. If a property owner failed to maintain their premises and caused your injury, contact our Mount Laurel slip and fall lawyers at the Law Office of David S. Rochman. Call us at 856-751-2345 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.