With this strange winter of the pandemic nearly upon us, much will be different as we curtail holiday gatherings and travel to keep ourselves and our families and friends safe. Unfortunately, some of us will still suffer winter accidents, such as slip and falls, motor vehicle accidents, or being harmed by defective skis or snow blowers.

Perhaps such circumstances will be rarer as we hunker down; we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, it’s important to remember that not all accidents are blameless, and if someone is responsible for your injury, you need a skilled personal injury attorney as well as excellent medical care. If you live in New Jersey, Levin & Malkin is a well-established legal practice that can guide you through the maze that will hopefully lead you to substantial compensation. For more than 40 years, we have won millions of dollars for our deserving clients.

Types of Common Winter Accidents 

Living in the Northeast as we do, we get our fair share of bad winter weather, including snow, sleet, and punishing winds. While we have had numerous blizzards over the years, even a few inches of snow and/or ice can cause accidents that result in painful, disabling injuries, and even death. Following are examples of accidents for which negligent parties may be held accountable.

Premises Liability Winter Accidents

We all owe a duty of care to the people who come onto our outdoor property or into our homes, stores, offices, buildings, restaurants, etc. In the winter, this means we may be liable for others’ injuries if we don’t clear our driveways, pathways, steps, parking lots, and sidewalks of ice and snow, and sand if necessary.

It also means we must make certain that our indoor surfaces are safe and dry or marked and labeled as dangerous. In addition, it means that we have to make certain our indoor property is appropriately ventilated, and that we protect visitors from being hurt by our heaters or indoor fireplaces.

Examples of winter injuries that may warrant premises liability lawsuits include:

  • A fall at the entryway to a store that is slippery with melting snow
  • A fall on the icy steps leading to a neighbor’s home, worsened by a broken banister
  • A fall on the uncleared sidewalk outside your local post office
  • Being burned by embers that blow against you from the fireplace in a bed and breakfast
  • Being overcome by carbon monoxide in a poorly ventilated restaurant

Tragically, such accidents occur every winter, some of them resulting in permanent disability or fatality.

Product Liability

A defective product can cause serious injury at any time of the year, but in the winter you have to especially careful with:

  • Defective sports equipment, such as ski poles, ice skates, snowboards 
  • Defective snow tires, snowblowers, plows
  • Defective heaters, toxic candles
  • Antifreeze or snow-melting chemicals not properly labeled as hazardous

Defective automotive parts, such as brakes, steering mechanisms, or seat belts can be even more dangerous when combined with poor weather conditions.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Car, truck, bus, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents occur at all times of the year but can be exacerbated by slippery roads and/or snow blindness. The most important precautions drivers can take are to travel under the speed limit during poor weather or road conditions and to leave a greater distance between themselves and the car in front of them. Braking takes considerably longer on wet or icy roads, and brakes have to be applied more slowly. 

If you suffer harm in a traffic accident during bad weather, the other party may be held accountable if he or she was doing one of the following when the accident happened:

  • Traveling too quickly for the weather and road conditions
  • Tailgating
  • Driving recklessly
  • Driving while distracted
  • Driving while intoxicated 
  • Violating any other traffic law

If you have been badly hurt in a winter accident, or someone close to you has suffered a wrongful death, make sure you contact a strong accident attorney who will fight vigorously to try to win you the damages for medical costs, lost income, and pain and suffering that you deserve.

Posted in: Personal Injury