The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits in the U.S. per year. The risk of slipping and falling increases tenfold during adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain. And Council Bluffs and other western parts of Iowa have seen no shortage of heavy rain lately.
Although most slip and fall injuries are minor, resulting only in bruises and scratches, others are more severe and can lead to brain injuries, fractured bones, concussions, and others.
Property Owner’s Duty to Prevent Slip and Falls in Bad Weather
While everyone is expected to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents, property owners in Council Bluffs and elsewhere in Iowa have a legal duty to ensure the safety of their visitors by preventing the accumulation of water, cleaning wet and icy surfaces, and eliminating other slip-and-fall hazards.
If a property owner overlooked the effect of rain and bad weather on their property and you were injured as a result, talk to a Council Bluffs slip and fall injuries attorney from Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP.
The following weather-related conditions can contribute to slipping and falling:
- Wet leaves
- Wet debris
- Slippery surfaces
- Water buildup
If your slip and fall injury occurred in the workplace, you might be able to seek workers’ compensation from your employee regardless of whether his or her negligence contributed to the accident.
How to Reduce the Risk of Weather-Related Slip and Fall Injuries
While property owners have a duty to eliminate unreasonable weather-related hazards and debris to prevent slip and fall accidents, you – as a visitor – can take certain safety precautions to minimize the risk of sustaining an injury:
- Always use handrails when walking on stairs
- Wear slip-resistant shoes
- Take the elevator when carrying large items
- Use a flashlight in poorly lit places
- Stay alert at all times but even more so when weather conditions are bad
- Do not use your phone when on the move
- Wipe your shoes on a doormat when entering a building during wet weather (rain, snow, hail, etc.)
- Keep your umbrella and wet clothes away from walkways
Do not be mistaken. Just because a building is covered by the roof does not mean that you are safe and that no slip and fall injury will occur, as other people can easily bring water and moisture into the building on their shoes and clothes.
Getting Compensation for Slip and Fall Injury
In Iowa, the statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents – and all other personal injury cases, for that matter – is two years from the date of the injury. Within that time window, an injured party can seek compensation through Iowa’s civil court system.
A property owner might attempt to deny liability or shift the blame onto injured visitors. Iowa’s “comparative negligence” rule means that multiple parties may bear some of the responsibility for an accident.
However, do not let the negligent property owner use it as an excuse to pin the fault on you. Speak with a Council Bluffs slip and fall injuries attorney from Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP, to establish fault and pursue compensation. Call 712-309-3738 to get a free consultation.