Articles for Non-Lawyers

Slip and Fall Accidents Often Lead to Serious Injuries

Safety Tips to Prevent Slip & Fall Accidents by Patricia Santucci

‘Tis the Season for Slip and Fall Accidents

After the terrible winter we had last year with the “polar vortex” keeping us under frozen conditions for so long, it is no wonder that Hamiltonians are already talking about what kind of winter we are going to have this year.

Although the winter conditions are very pretty to look at and are fun for those who love winter sports and activities, the conditions are very dangerous to folks walking around on our city streets and sidewalks.

Streets and sidewalks get extremely slippery when they are covered in snow and ice. Conditions like this cause what is referred to in the legal world as “slip and fall” accidents. Unfortunately these falls often lead to serious injuries, which most commonly include fractures or dislocations to the wrist, shoulder, hip or ankle, and sometimes a head injury.

Safety Tips to Avoid a Slip & Fall Accident

You can’t stay inside all winter, so when you do have to venture out, here are some safety tips to use when you are walking on winter sidewalks, streets and parking lots:

  • Wear appropriate footwear including sturdy boots with good traction;
  • Wear clothing that does not impair your vision so you can spot icy conditions;
  • Wear gloves so you can keep your hands free for balance and to break your fall if you do slip;
  • Look up when walking near buildings and be aware of hazards such as falling chunks of snow or icicles, and look down for pooled water that has come off buildings and turned to ice on the sidewalk;
  • Be careful of “black ice” or ice that is hiding under a layer of snow;
  • When conditions are icy, walk slowly and take small steps for greater stability;
  • Avoid walking on ice whenever you can;
  • In extreme conditions consider using special spikes for the bottoms of your shoes and a walking stick or walking pole.

What should you do if you slip and fall?

Property owners must keep their sidewalks and parking lots safe by ensuring that they are shoveled and salted when the weather is inclement. The municipality must keep the roads and sidewalks safe. If you do slip and fall due to someone else’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for your damages. If you are unlucky enough to be injured in a slip and fall accident, make sure you do the following:

  1. Make a note of the date and time that you fell. Put the property owner on notice of your fall, in writing. You must do this right away. There are strict notice periods that can be as short as 7 days if your fall happened on municipal property.

  2. Take photographs of the location of your fall in order to document the conditions. Use your Smart Phone if you have one on you.

  3. Get the names and contact information from anyone that witnessed your fall.

  4. If you fell in a location where there is a business, find out if there is a manager available to speak to so you can fill out an accident report.

  5. Seek medical help right away and describe how (and where) the accident occurred so your doctor will record your details in the medical records.

  6. Keep the footwear and clothing that you were wearing at the time, in case you have to produce it in a lawsuit as evidence. Take a photograph of what you were wearing if you are unable to keep it.

  7. Most importantly, contact an experienced personal injury law firm like Santucci Law to take your case.

We are here to help

At Santucci Law, we have experience fighting for clients who have suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident due to someone else’s negligence. Please come in and see us for a free consultation to discuss your case. We are focused on one result. Yours.

About the Author Patricia Santucci

Patricia Santucci is a personal injury lawyer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds several degrees having attended King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Windsor and an Ontario Teaching Degree from Teacher’s College as well as her Ontario Teaching Certificate. After graduating from the University of Alberta law school she was called to the bar in 2000. You can find Patricia on and LinkedIn or directly through this website