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Increase in Slip and Falls in Colorado

April 1, 2019

Slip and fall accidents are unpleasant, to say the least. For the victims, slips and falls can result in severe short term and chronic pain due to the types of injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents. Often, slip and fall accidents occur at work or on the premises of a business owner or land owner’s property, and may result in an insurance company paying the victim compensation for the injuries sustained.

Slips and Falls Are Up in 2019

In Colorado, slip and fall accidents experienced a fairly drastic increase for the year 2019 so far. In January and February, slip and fall incidents increased 43% as compared to January and February 2018. Authorities say most of the accidents resulted from excess snow and ice, so prospects for the remainder of March and April – typically the snowiest months in Colorado – seem dubious.

In part, insurance companies blame the mild weather Colorado experienced in recent years. Slips and falls likely experienced a relative low in 2018 since snow and ice levels were at a minimum. In addition, residents had the span of a few years to grow out of practice when it comes to dealing with snow and ice. Visitors, too, experienced snow and ice in January and February at increased levels.

What Injuries Do Slip and Fall Victims Experience?

Slip and fall injuries often occur on the job or on commercial property, and are the injuries easiest to track due to the insurance obligations of businesses and corporations. According to Colorado workers compensation insurance, the most common slip and fall injuries this season include:

Bruising

It is easy to see why slip and fall accidents result in bruising. Bruising of the tailbone area, hips and knees can result from initial contact with the ground, while bruising of elbows and wrists can result from the victim bracing against the impact.

Strains

Muscle and ligament strains commonly result from slip and fall injuries due to the sudden, awkward twisting motion produced by the momentum of the victim’s body. Commonly strained muscles include lower back and neck muscles.

Fractures

Victims of slip and fall accidents commonly fracture the tailbone. Other fractures result from reaching out to prevent or brace for a fall and include fractures of the wrists and arms.

Concussions

Concussions occur when the head rapidly changes direction, such as when it strikes a hard surface. Slip and fall victims often strike their heads on the surface of the ice, causing the brain to strike the interior of the skull.

What Preventative Measures Should Take Place?

In general, businesses and individual property owners have a reasonable amount of time to remove snow and ice from walkways, parking lots, and other areas accessible to employees and patrons. Businesses must remove snow within four hours, and private parties have a maximum of 24 hours. Slip and fall accidents outside that time may result in litigation from victims injured due to remaining snow and ice.

Workers slipping and falling on snow, ice, or excess tracked water due to snow and ice may file workers compensation claims to receive payment for medical bills related to workplace accidents. So far, slip and fall workers compensation claims average about $13,000 in payments from employers, making attention to workplace safety after a snowfall all the more essential.

Businesses and private citizens alike should ensure their properties remain safe for visitors by:

  • Clearing all snow as soon as possible
  • Applying ice melt chemicals to promote the elimination of ice
  • Keeping large mats and drying areas near entryways so visitors can avoid tracking excess water onto hard surfaces
  • Exercising proper care to keep floors dry
  • Posting warning signs reminding visitors to watch for slippery areas

If your workplace or a business you patronize does not bother to clear walkways for employees or clients, any slip and fall could result in a personal injury lawsuit. If you experienced a slip and fall accident this winter, contact a Denver slip and fall lawyer to discuss legal representation.