It’s Snowing. Don’t Fall.

Yes, winter will be with us for a while. Unfortunately, that means more slip and fall accidents, as a result of icy or snowy conditions. And when bad weather is combined with uneven or rough surfaces, the risk of pedestrian accidents multiples.

In New York state, property owners are responsible for keeping their public spaces reasonably clear, particularly after a snow or ice storm. However, “reasonably clear” leaves room for many interpretations. If you’re injured, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will know the difference between natural hazards and those hazards caused by human negligence.

When It Snows In The City

Property owners in New York City including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island, are legally obliged to clean away the ice and snow, once again, within a “reasonable amount of time.” That means, if the snow stops falling between 7am and 5pm, the owners must clean the area within 4 hours. Under some circumstances, the City of New York may be responsible for snow or ice removal.

If you are injured and you need to sue a municipality, keep in mind that you have a very short window of opportunity to bring a case to court. The New York statute of limitations in these cases expires in 90 days.

So, What If You Fall?

First things, first, if you are injured, you will beed medical treatment.  Therefore, look around for someone to help you call an ambulance. If you are able, look around and take notice of the area where you fell, and take some pictures with your smartphone. You may need documented evidence of the hazard, and you are going to need photographs of the exact time that you fell, as weather conditions can change abruptly.

Also try to gather names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident. Witnesses can support a case where the conditions presented risks to pedestrians. Just by talking to people around you, you may find out that area is consistently unsafe.

Finally . . .

Any time you have a slip and fall accident can be perilous, but when that accident happens in snow or ice, the injury could be more serious. No matter how well you might feel, some symptoms are delayed. Therefore, even if you can get up off the ground on your own, a trip to your PCP is a good idea.

Is Whiplash A Serious Injury?

Whiplash can occur when your neck is forcefully swung back and forth during, for instance, a motor vehicle accident. A hit from the car behind you can cause this injury which can be a simple sprain that heals in a few weeks, or more serious and chronic.

Many people are unaware of the symptoms that may accompany whiplash. Although they may not appear immediately, within a few days, you may develop stiffness and pain in your neck, headaches, drowsiness or fatigue, pain with movement, a decrease in range-of-motion, pain in the shoulder or upper back, and arm numbness. People with severe and chronic whiplash may be older, have a pre-existing neck injury, or were in a very serious accident.

After the initial examination testing reflexes and range-of-motion in your neck, often, your doctor will refer you for an x-ray and/or an MRI. In such severe cases, you may be prescribed pain medication as well as physical therapy to manage the pain and help you recover. Your doctor will want to know the intensity of your pain, and what, precisely, makes the pain worse. He/She will likely ask you about the accident and want to know how long after the accident your symptoms appeared.

Your treatment plan may include the use of a foam collar to keep your neck in place, exercises, and even lidocaine injections. Hopefully, your case of whiplash will be mild and temporary. However, always get immediate medical treatment in the event your injury results in a more complicated, painful condition.

Should you be left with debilitating whiplash, you may be entitled to compensation. In which case, your personal injury attorney will likely want to see the results of your MRI because an MRI can detect some soft tissue injuries an x-ray cannot. An example of a soft tissue injury from whiplash is a herniated disc, or a tear(s) in the small muscle fibers that support the neck and go down into the shoulder.

Whiplash is a generic term for this type of neck injury. However, the term encompasses everything from a simple strain or sprain to a condition that can adversely affect your life. Like all injuries from accidents, whiplash should not be ignored. If you’ve suffered whiplash, particularly if you were injured in a serious motor vehicle accident, seek medical attention as soon as possible.