Every winter season, hospital emergency rooms see a rise in weather-related accidents that result in a variety of injuries ranging from mild sprains and strains to serious head trauma.
Common Wintertime Injuries
In certain areas of the country, including Chicago, winter weather causes many accidents and injuries. Slippery outdoor surfaces caused by excessive snowfall, sleet, slush, and ice put thousands of people in the hospital each year. Some of the most common winter injuries result from slip and fall accidents, shoveling snow and ice, winter sports and activities, and motor vehicle collisions. Although some winter accidents seen by a personal injury lawyer cause only mild sprains and strains, others result in serious injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, permanent disabilities, and even death. Common wintertime injuries include:
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Slip and Fall Accidents
During the winter season, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of reported injuries. Snow-covered and icy sidewalks, walkways, driveways, and parking lots cause a variety of weather-related injuries including bruises, sprains and strains, fractures and broken bones, back, neck, and spinal injuries, and head trauma.
Shoveling Snow and Ice
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 200,000 people were treated for injuries caused by shoveling snow and ice in 2014. Hospital emergency rooms across the country reported minor cuts and lacerations, back and shoulder sprains, pulled neck and back muscles, fractures and broken bones, slipped disk injuries, and finger amputations caused by shoveling snow and ice.
Winter Sports and Activities
High-impact winter sports and activities like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and tobogganing can result in serious injuries such as broken bones, knee, neck, back injuries, head trauma, and brain injuries that often lead to long-term or permanent disabilities. When taking part in winter sports, proper safety gear should be used at all times to prevent injuries.
Motor Vehicle Collisions
Snow and ice on roads and highways make winter driving much more dangerous. Winter driving conditions such as rain, snow, and ice dramatically impact the braking distance of a vehicle. Coming to a complete, safe stop requires good tire traction which is reduced in snow and ice. According to Safe Motorist, drivers should decrease speeds, exercise gentle turns and stops, and increase following distances when there is snow and ice on the roadways. Drivers should perform regular vehicle maintenance to check the safety of tires, brakes, belts and hoses, heating and defrost, and wiper blades to prevent winter weather-related vehicle accidents and injuries.