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The Ultimate Winter Accident Guide: Space Heaters, Driving, Ice, and More

The winter season is on its way, and with it comes unique safety risks. There are many disruptions from normal routines. Holiday accidents can result in a trip to the emergency room or even serious injuries that extend well beyond the season.

Friend, Levinson, and Turner Law fights for those injured as a result of the negligence and carelessness of others. With the unique risks posed during holiday and winter activities, we have assembled this safety guide to keep in mind as the temperature drops.

Safe Winter Driving

Shorter days and longer nights often have an effect on the mind and body – contributing to an increase in many different kinds of accidents. The National Safety Council reports traffic fatalities are 3-times greater at night. While drowsy driving drivers play a role, decreased visibility is the main culprit.

Below are four areas where you can better protect yourself from accidents and injuries resulting from less daylight.

Prepare Your Internal Clock

Our bodies’ internal clocks tell us to sleep when it’s dark. Since darkness signals a natural inclination to sleep, we become more prone to drowsy driving in the darker winter months. 

Check Your Vehicle

Refresh your vehicle by cleaning your headlights, windows, taillights, and signal lights. Make sure your car is operating in good working order. 

To prepare for Chicagoland weather, this is a good time to switch to winter snow or all-weather tires. A well-prepared car will help keep drivers out of trouble on the road.

Practice Defensive Driving

It is likely that the increased darkness and decreased visibility limit your reaction time to respond to other drivers, road hazards, and road conditions. Leave more room between you and the car in front of you.

  • Keep 2 car lengths between you and the car in front of you
  • Depth perception, color recognition, and peripheral vision decrease after sundown
  • Know when to use your low beam and high beam headlights 

High beams are necessary to see over 350 feet ahead. Of course, always dim your high beams when following another driver or approaching an oncoming car.

Maximizing Your Winter Auto Accident Claim

Sometimes, accidents are unavoidable, especially when driving in winter. If you were the victim of an auto accident, be sure to follow the following advice to maximize your claim: 

  1. Seek medical treatment
  2. Call the police and file a report
  3. Never give a statement
  4. Document everything
  5. Hire an experienced attorney 

It is important not to delay. An attorney will help you avoid mistakes that may weaken your case. In addition, your attorney will help you keep track of your medical treatment, ensure that no legal deadline is missed, advise you on realistic compensation, and keep the case moving forward.

Wintertime Slip and Fall Injuries

Whether you work inside or outside, wintertime creates unique risks of slipping, falling, and injuries while on-the-job.  Wet floors, ice, and snow can cause injuries that keep you away from work, create medical expenses, and ruin the holiday season.

With the risks posed by winter conditions, a number of precautions will reduce the likelihood that you will be hurt by winter slip and fall accidents at home or at work.

Wear the Right Shoes

Many people forget how important it is to wear appropriate footwear during the wintertime.   Many winter slip and fall injuries can be prevented by:

  • Flat for balance
  • Sufficient tread for traction
  • Warm and dry

Shoes that meet these 3 conditions will improve your footing and reduce the risk of injury from slipping and falling. 

  • Prioritize Balance 

Recognize that your pace needs to slow-down during inclement winter weather. Puddles can ice-up and black ice can cover sidewalks and catch you completely unaware. 

  • Hands-Free Walking

Your hands and arms play a critical role in maintaining balance and catching yourself in mid-fall. If you need to carry papers or work supplies, consider using a backpack to keep your arms free.

  • Beware of Snow and Ice

Snow and ice should be cleared from walkways and work surfaces to prevent falls. Work should be avoided on rooftops or other elevated surfaces after a snowfall. If it’s unavoidable, fall protection equipment and training should be provided.

Maximizing a Slip and Fall Injury Claim

The unexpected nature of these slip and fall accidents can lead to broken bones along with muscle strains and aches. Below is a 5-step checklist to maximize success with your claims

  • Seek Medical Attention

Seek medical attention and treatment immediately. Be sure to get copies of medical records regarding your exam and treatment. Take photos of any cuts or bruises or any physical damage that may not be revealed on X-rays. Being examined by a physician and following their medical advice is always first priority.

  • Notify your Employer

Following your initial medical treatment, notify your employer as soon as possible. In Illinois, you have only a short time to notify your employer of the injury.

  • Document the Situation 

Accidents are scary, and details are easy to overlook. Write down what you remember happening as soon as possible in your private notes.

  • What was happening just prior to the accident?
  • Where were you located?
  • Who came to help?
  • What was said?
  • Get the names of witnesses who saw the accident occur.

Do not share these notes with anyone other than your attorney who will find these enormously helpful in fighting for you.

  • Notify Your Union

If the accident occurred at work and you are a member of a union, make your steward aware of your injury. Your union can provide significant help.

  • Retain an Attorney

Contact a workers compensation attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced with workers compensation cases and personal injury law. We help you navigate the claims process to ensure that you receive all the benefits you deserve. We fight for your rights, your benefits, and assist with all the details — so that you can focus on healing.

Ice Skating Injuries 101: Who is Liable?

Falling on ice, crashing into retaining boards, or colliding with other skaters exposes you to risks of injury including head injuries, broken bones, and in serious cases, wrongful death. Here’s what you need to know about cold weather injury prevention on ice. 

The Voluntary Assumption of Risk

Ice skating with others on a confined sheet of ice is an inherently dangerous activity. In Illinois, the overriding legal concept applicable to on-ice skating injuries – Voluntary Assumption of Risk – means that any reasonable person is aware that when lacing up their skates for the purpose of gliding over a sheet of ice, accidents can happen.

This common-sense principle applies to falls, collisions with others, and crashing into retaining walls. These are risks that the skater assumes. Public or private rinks are generally not liable for injuries experienced during these obviously dangerous activities. 

Their defense is that the participants voluntarily assume the risk of injuries while participating in these activities. If you have a personal injury claim related to an ice-skating accident you will need to prove why the ice skating rink or an individual is liable.

When Others May Be Liable

There are situations where a public or private skating rink may be liable for an injury suffered by a customer, guest, or participant. Rink and park operators must maintain their premises and equipment. Failure to meet these obligations can make the operator liable for injuries resulting from their negligence. 

They may be liable if a slip or fall occurs off the ice in an area where proper maintenance should have eliminated dangers. Also, if the rink did not provide reasonable security to protect participants from disruptive or violent patrons on the ice and an injury resulted, the rink may be liable.

In some situations, victims might be able to pursue compensation for damages from a third party, such as another skater or an equipment manufacturer. 

What To Do If Injured while Ice Skating

If you or a loved one is injured, through no fault of your own, while participating in recreational ice skating, you should seek compensation for the pain, suffering, and necessary medical treatment. Seek medical attention, document the process, and contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.

Winter Space Heater Safety 101

While space heaters can be a quick way to heat-up your home or work area, space heaters cause thousands of injuries each year. Keeping your home safe from a heating fire accident includes a number of common-sense safety tips that can limit your risks while using a portable space heater.

  • Be Mindful of Flammable Objects

Most space heater accidents occur because something was too close to the heater and ignited. In addition to a child-free zone, be sensitive to the elderly who may stumble or are prone to falls. Keep heaters away from things like upholstered furniture, curtains, clothing, mattress, bedding, paper, and plastic bags.

  • Stay in the Room

Never leave an operating space heater unattended. Always turn off a portable space heater when you go to sleep or leave the room.

  • Stand on Stable Ground

Stand your space heater on a stable, flat floor so it won’t tip- over from a passer-by or from vibration while operating. Use a portable space heater with an automatic shut off if they’re tipped over.

  • Skip the Extension Cord

Plug the heater power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord. Inspect the power cord for cracks or damage, broken plugs, or loose connections. Replace before using.

Health Risks

While electric heaters warm the air inside the house, they significantly reduce the important moisture in the air, making it dry. 

  • Dry air can exacerbate respiratory problems like bronchitis or nosebleeds
  • Skin and eye irritation can also occur due to the lack of moisture

Consider wearing layers instead of depending on the space heater for warmth. 

Holiday Preparations 101: Preventative Safety

Accidents happen around the holiday season. 

  • Child-Proof the Home

Many commonly used decorations like holly or mistletoe are considered potentially poisonous. Be sure to keep these items as well as flammable items out of reach of children.

  • Manage Stress and Surroundings

Keep a relaxed and positive outlook and get enough sleep. Learn how to provide early treatment for children and adults who are choking, suffer minor burns, or cuts.

  • Exercise Caution While Shopping

If you indulge in late-night shopping, try to shop with a friend or family member. Always be aware of your surroundings at all times but especially at night.

  • Refresh Your Infrastructure

Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector. Change the filters in your furnace and air cleaner to improve the healthy flow of air. 

What To Do If You or a Loved One is Injured

The unexpected nature of these seasonal accidents can lead to broken bones along with muscle strains, aches, and even serious, life-changing injuries.  If you or a member of your family is injured, contact the attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner. 

We apply a disciplined approach to gain a comprehensive understanding of the facts, issues, and injuries and advise you of possible courses of action. We can help you navigate insurance companies and insurance claims. 

william
William J. Turner

William Turner has represented hundreds of working men and women who have been victims of the negligence of others – gaining equitable compensation for the medical expenses and pain and suffering for his clients. He concentrates his practice in the trial of complex personal injury cases, including car and truck accidents, construction mishaps, medical malpractice, dog and animal attacks, nursing home abuse, and slip-and-falls. Additionally, he offers niche counsel and advocacy for workers who are injured on a job.

William has obtained judgements from juries in approximately 150 cases and has secured fair and comprehensive settlements in even more over his career. William Turner has dedicated his professional life to fighting for the rights of those who are injured as a result of the negligent acts of others.

Favorable Outcomes.

Faster Settlements.

Equitable Reimbursements.

William

The law firm of Friend, Levinson & Turner provides people just like you with practical solutions and representation for their legal needs when faced with a serious personal injury.

We understand and respect the dignity of individuals. We listen, advise, represent and counsel.

We unburden people of the stressful legal matters so they can focus on healing and their recovery. Our client's well-being is our priority.

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