Philadelphia can have extremely severe winters. Subfreezing temperatures, snow, ice, and dangerous wind chills are not uncommon, and these conditions can often last for days or even weeks on end. While the cold and wintry weather may initially seem like an annoyance that can be easily managed by simply bundling up in quality outerwear, in reality, cold weather can put us all at risk of serious injury. Some of the more common accidents that can occur in cold weather are discussed below.
Conditions like snow and ice can make driving extraordinarily difficult, even for four-wheel drive vehicles. In many cases, winter storms can result in significantly decreased visibility and slippery roads that can easily result in accidents. Even cold weather by itself can result in the formation of “black ice,” which is a thin sheet of ice on the road that is often invisible to motorists.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are a common occurrence during cold weather, as accumulating snow and ice can make surfaces like sidewalks, walkways, stairwells, and entryways treacherous for pedestrians. While slip and falls are often thought of as minor accidents that do not usually result in serious injury, they are responsible for almost 9 million emergency department visits each year. Some of the more common injuries sustained in cold weather slip and fall accidents include the following:
- Broken bones
- Hip fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve injuries
- Muscle tears
Space Heater Accidents
When the weather gets colder, many people in the Philadelphia area turn to space heaters to keep their homes or offices warm. A space heater can be an efficient way to keep your energy costs low by only heating areas that you need to be heated and also can help manage the temperature in homes with drafty windows or doors. Unfortunately, these devices are also very dangerous and capable of causing serious injuries. For one thing, space heaters themselves can become extremely hot. If you accidentally touch a space heater after it has been operating for some time, it can easily cause serious burns. Secondly, space heaters are a serious fire hazard. They can overheat and start spark fires that could potentially burn an entire house down.
Holiday Decoration Accidents
Winter and colder weather also bring the holiday season. During this time, many people like to decorate their homes in strings of lights or other illuminated objects to create a holiday display. These items can be either inside or outside of the home and usually rely on electricity to operate. Like anything else electrical, if they are misused or defective in some way that can cause serious injury or spark fires. In addition, people who decorate their homes during the holidays often need to get on the roof or extend a ladder to the second story (or beyond) in order to achieve the desired result. As a result, holiday decorating could also expose you to a serious risk of injury in a fall accident.
Determining Whether You Have a Claim
Not every accidental injury entitles victims to pursue compensation. For example, if you are driving in snowy weather and lose control of your car because you were driving too fast, it is unlikely that you will be able to recover for your losses. If on the other hand, you can establish that your accident was the result of a faulty anti-lock braking system, you probably will be able to obtain a settlement or an award. Because of the complicated nature personal injury claims, it is critical for victims to have their case reviewed by an experienced attorney. Our lawyers will review your claim for free and determine whether you have a claim. In addition, if you do have a claim to pursue, you are under no obligation to retain us after your initial consultation.
Call a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
If you are injured in an accident this winter, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. In many instances, accidents related to cold weather conditions entitle victims to compensation. Examples of the kinds of damages that you may be able to recover include medical expenses, lost income, loss of quality of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, among others. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, call The Levin Firm today at 215-825-5183 or send us an email through our online contact form.