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Be careful on icy sidewalks this winter

As we head into the winter season every year, everybody looks forward to their hot cocoa at night, a warm blanket and a good book, your favorite TV show or snuggling up with your smartphone in bed.

However, we also have to brave the outdoors during the winter months as pedestrians. This comes with certain risks as the sidewalks and roads get covered with ice and snow, and slip-and-fall risks abound.

How to prevent ice-related slips and falls

Ice-related slips and falls contribute to countless injuries -- many of them catastrophic -- during the winter months in New Jersey. These risks present dangers to pedestrians who are shopping or going for a leisurely stroll, and for people who are carrying out their normal job responsibilities.

Here's how to prevent these ice-related accidents:

  • Walk slowly and carefully when outside during the winter months, especially after rain or when there's snow on the ground.
  • Consider getting special shoes that have slip-resistant soles to help you keep your traction when you inadvertently walk on ice.
  • Keep an eye out for "black-ice" which is the dangerous combination of vehicle oil and ice on the roads, sidewalks and in parking lots.
  • Be especially careful when you're getting in and out of your vehicle. Parking lots can be especially slippery when ice is present.
  • Keep an eye out for slippery surfaces when you go inside a building. People might be tracking snow and ice inside on their shoes, and then it will melt and create a slick hazard inside the building.
  • Keep your hands free and don't carry a lot of objects. This way you can have your hands free and your balance secure in case you get unsteady.

Consider holding at-fault parties liable after a slip and fall

According to the president of Accident Fund Insurance Company of America, winter-related slips and falls negatively impact American businesses because they may require time off work for the injured person to recover.

When a worker suffers an injury after slipping on ice, it's one thing -- because he or she can get workers' compensation insurance to pay for lost income. When a pedestrian who's off-the-job gets hurt in an ice injury, the problem gets worse. This person might lose his or her source of income while recovering from the slip-and-fall injuries. As such, those who suffer a slip-and-fall injury may want to investigate who could be at fault for their accident. If another party is at fault, the injured person might be able to recover damages to pay for his or her medical care.

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