Winter Slip and Fall Accidents

Edited by Admin
Winter Slip and Fall Accidents

Winter Slip-and-Fall Accidents

As soon as snow begins falling in the GTA, our hospital emergency rooms begin seeing victims of slip-and-fall accidents. Every year in Toronto, people are injured by slipping and falling on icy sidewalks or on melted snow in indoor spaces. Recently statistics from the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicate that hospitalizations due to falls on ice are the number one cause of winter injuries. Approximately 9,000 are hospitalized each year in Canada due to winter slip-and-falls, and many more are treated as outpatients. After weather such as a snowstorm or ice-storm, hospital admissions caused by slip-and-falls triple, with the most common injuries including wrist and ankle fractures and head trauma. Those most vulnerable to injury are the elderly, who may have mobility issues that increase their risk, however, anyone, no matter what their age or physical condition, can be seriously injured by a fall. Here are some safety tips that may help you to avoid a slip-and-fall injury this winter.


Safety Tips

  • Penguin walk. One creative way to remember to walk carefully on ice has been circulating on the internet in recent years: walk like a penguin! Alberta Health Services provides aninstructional video that shows you just how to do that:
    • Bend slightly and walk flat-footed.
    • Point your feet out slightly like a penguin.
    • Keep your centre of gravity over your feet as much as possible.
    • Focus on the path in front of you.
    • Take shorter, shuffle-like steps.
    • Keep your arms at your sides (not in your pockets!)
    • Concentrate on keeping your balance.
    • Go S-L-O-W-L-Y.

    It may not be the most graceful way to get around, but it can keep you safe!


  • Get a grip. Wear appropriate winter boots with ankle support and slip-resistant soles. Rubber or neoprene soles usually provide the best grip, and ice grippers or spikes that attach to your boots can provide additional traction. Change into indoor footwear as soon as you get inside. If you can’t change your shoes, clean them as soon as possible; caked snow and ice on boot soles can be treacherous.


  • Watch your step. Whenever possible, avoid slippery surfaces such as wet leaves, icy areas, and snowbanks. Beware of ice that might be hidden under snow on sidewalks. If sidewalks on side streets are not yet cleared, travel on safer sidewalks – even if it makes your journey a little longer. Look for sidewalks that have been shovelled, plowed, salted and/or sanded.


  • Stay balanced. In slippery conditions, don’t carry heavy items and keep your hands free whenever possible. If you are overloaded, it can be much harder to keep your balance. If you must carry groceries or other items, try using a backpack, which will leave your arms free – your arms help you to remain balanced, and can help to break your fall if that becomes necessary.


  • Use safety features. If there is a handrail, guardrail or other support available when going down stairs, use it.


  • Put your phone away. Pedestrians distracted by their phones are often hit by drivers or cyclists – but chances are, if you’re texting or looking at social media, you’re not watching where you’re stepping. Distraction can lead to a slip-and-fall, too.


  • Don’t jaywalk. Cross the street only at crosswalks. Some accidents happen when pedestrians try to climb over piles of snow when trying to jaywalk.


  • Be afraid of the dark. If you can’t see where you’re going, you won’t be able to avoid danger areas. Walk where you have good visibility.


  • Hang on tight. Remember that when you step out of a vehicle, all of your weight will be on one foot. In an icy situation, this can be treacherous. Minimize your risk by holding on to the roof or the door of the car as you exit.


  • Melted snow. Once you’re indoors, remember that there is likely water on the floor of the entryway left by snow or slush melting from your boots, or from the boots of people who have entered previously. Don’t let your guard down until you can see that the floor is clean and dry.


  • Clear your own paths. Don’t forget that you are responsible for keeping your own walkways clear, well-lit, and sanded or salted when necessary. In Toronto, homeowners have twelve hours after a snowfall to clear the sidewalks in front of their property, but it’s best to do it as soon as possible.


Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a family member has suffered a slip-and-fall accident, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Lawyers who focus on this area of the law can tell you more about your options and advise you about how to proceed.


An initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer is free, and, since these lawyers work on a contingency basis, they don’t charge hourly fees, but get paid only when you receive a settlement. Call a personal injury law firm today and get the compensation you deserve.