A “historically strong” El Nino winter may be coming to the Hudson Valley this winter. While that may cause students and some teachers to rejoice, it also may mean that a rash of slip and fall injuries is on the way. In this article, we go over the correlation between slip and fall injuries and snowfall, the duty of Kingston and Poughkeepsie business owners to prevent falls on their properties, and share some statistics about winter weather in the Hudson Valley.
According to the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center, there’s a 20% chance of a “historically strong” El Nino Winter. According to Accuweather, some areas of the Northeast could receive 3 to 10 times more snowfall than they did last winter.
In a previous article, we covered the prevalence of winter weather as a contributing factor to car crashes in Dutchess County and Ulster County.
A 2022 study called Impact of Weather on Pedestrians’ Slip Risk said that snow on the ground increases the risk of a slip and fall accident by more than three times. According to the CDC, there are over a million slip and fall accidents caused by ice and snow every year; roughly 17,000 people die in these tragic incidents every year.
According to our research, the most snowfall that we’ve had in recent memory is 72”, in the 2004-2005 winter; the least was 11.7”, in 2015-2016. In an average year, Ulster and Dutchess County have about 42”, or 3.5 feet of snow accumulation per year.
The Duty of Business Owners to Maintain Safe Conditions
Regardless of the weather, business owners have a duty to maintain a safe and secure premises for their customers and passers-by. Apartment owners and homeowners have a lower standard to uphold, although it may be possible to prove that they failed to warn a visitor about slippery conditions.
In order to recover the full compensation for lost wages, medical bills and more, a fall victim has to prove that the responsible party knew about the slippery conditions, and neglected to address them. Many businesses and local governments have a standard plan for shoveling and salting their parking lots, walkways and other surfaces during inclement weather; if they deviate from the procedure, it may have contributed to a fall.
If there is footage of employees or officials ignoring snow and ice, that also may help prove that they were aware of the conditions.
It should be noted that if there’s an active storm, it may be more difficult to prove that the other party was negligent.
What should you do after a slip and fall accident?
We have already written about the top eight things to do after a slip and fall accident.
Here are the first four:
- Seek medical attention
- Notify the property owner and document it
- Don’t post about the accident on social media
- Take photos of the conditions and your injuries
Read the rest here.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident due to the negligence of a property owner or municipality, schedule a free personal injury consultation with our experienced legal team at our offices in Kingston, NY or Poughkeepsie, NY.