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Common winter weather-related injuries

In recent years, winter storms have hit the east coast and covered roadways in deep snow, causing not only difficulties and delay for residents, but dangerous conditions. Around this time last year, a blizzard left the boroughs of Staten Island and the Bronx with 2 1/2 feet of snow. Unfortunately, city plows were unable to clear it for almost two days. Drivers had a difficult time getting around due to the dangerous road conditions, but vehicle fender benders and serious crashes aren't the only weather-related accidents that can cause injury during the winter.

Causes of winter weather-related injuries

Snow, ice and freezing temperatures can contribute to a variety of seasonal accidents, some common causes include:

  • Vehicle crashes
  • Slipping and falling on icy roads and walkways, and in parking lots or other public areas
  • Scraping your car windshield and windows
  • Shoveling your driveway and walkways
  • Engaging in winter sports including sledding, skating, ice hockey, winter climbing, skiing and snowboarding

Most winter injuries occur because of icy roads and sidewalks or strenuous activity. Being aware of the possibilities can help you prevent serious injury.

Injuries suffered due to winter weather

Injuries from these types of accidents can range from insignificant to long lasting or even life changing. Some of the common causes of seasonal accidents can result in injuries such as:

  • Back, neck and shoulder strain
  • Sprained ankles and wrists
  • Dislocation of various joints including the shoulder, hip and elbow
  • Head injury due to falling
  • Fracture of any bones - especially the hip
  • Frostbite

Some of these injuries are minor and can be attended to at home, but winter weather-related injuries can also be or become very serious. For example, if you slip on the ice and hurt your head you might not think much of it but such a fall can cause a concussion or even a serious brain injury. The best way to treat a serious injury this winter is to try to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Tips for preventing winter weather-related injuries

Even though seasonal accidents are very common, we can all take safety precautions to reduce the chances of being involved in an accident that results in serious injury. Safety measures, such as these, can help ensure you and your family's wellbeing.

  • Keep emergency and first aid supplies in your vehicle, including a charged cell phone
  • Install winter tires on your vehicle
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good operating condition; lights, turn signals and brakes should all be working properly
  • Properly salt your driveway and all walkways, including steps
  • When walking outside, always proceed cautiously; wear proper winter footwear and outerwear
  • Assist children and seniors who may be unsteady on their feet
  • Stretch before activities such as scraping, shoveling and engaging in winter sports
  • Take breaks when shoveling, especially if your hands and feet are particularly cold
  • Use the right equipment for outdoor sports including warm outerwear and helmets
  • Stay hydrated when engaged in any outdoor activity

Being mindful of the risks associated with winter weather can help you avoid injury and/or disaster. Remember to be proactive, drive safely and take precautionary measures. If you do find yourself with a winter weather-related injury, seek help immediately. Don't wait for a minor problem to become a major one.

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The O'Connor Law Firm
45 Broadway, Suite 3020
New York, NY 10006

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Phone: 212-566-4868
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