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Safety First – Respecting the Dangers of Hiking

Hiking is a very popular outdoor activity enjoyed by millions. According to the National Park Service (NPS), more than 280 million people come to its recreational areas every year. This time of the year, being fall, is a popular time to go hiking given the cool weather and leaves changing color.

Yet, as fun as hiking may be, the risk of injury runs rampant. Some trails pose risk of serious bodily injury and even death! Just last month, September 2016, a 17-year old boy was seriously injured when he fell 50 feet while hiking at Starved Rock State Park. This young boy was initially hiking with two of his friends when he suddenly decided to climb outside of the marked trail at the Pontiac Canyon. After climbing outside of the marked trail, the young boy fell 50 feet to the ground. Life flight took him to a nearby hospital where it was listed that the boy was in a serious condition. At Starved Rock, there are several signs reminding visitors that it is required that they stay within the park’s 12-mile marked trail.    

If you were adhering to the rules of the park, yet were still injured, or if you were injured by defective hiking equipment, it is important that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Hiking-Related Statistics and Causes

As noted above, millions of people enjoy hiking every year. Hiking, at the moment, ranks in the top five for most popular outdoor activities. However, and unfortunately, thousands of people are injured while hiking. A lot of these are fatalities.

In the year 2011 the National Park Service (NPS) reported 3,582 search and rescue incidents and 2,876 in 2012. Fatalities resulted in about 35 of these. In 2011, 817 injuries specifically related to hiking and in 2012, 922 related to hiking. From 2010 to 2012, there were 116 reported hiking-related fatalities.

Of all the hiking-related injuries and fatalities, the causes for these incidents are alarming. Most of the deaths are attributed to either a lack of knowledge, lack of experience, and poor judgment. Hikers will often underestimate the power and danger of Mother Nature.      

Safety Tips for Hikers

Despite the above numbers and causes, hiking can be fun and safe as long as you are careful. You should practice the following. For one, it is important that you do not go hiking alone. This is especially true for novice hikers. Hike in a group, known as the “buddy system” and do not leave the group during your hike.

Second, while hiking, it is very important that you stay on the marked trail. As with the above-mentioned incident, if you leave the marked trail you may face several dangers. Sometimes the markers are paint on trees, sticks in the ground, flags, and other landmarks; pay attention! Besides the dangers, if you leave the marked trail, this also increases the chances that you will become lost. You should carry a whistle with you, just in case you do become lost or otherwise need help.

Third, as obvious as this may sound, it is important that you refrain from climbing on waterfalls. You do not want to risk slipping and falling to your demise.

Fourth, you should carry rain gear with you and plenty of drinking water. If it is cold out, you should also carry warm clothing with you. A change of clothing is important. If you get wet, you should put dry clothing on to prevent hypothermia.

Fifth, it is important that you dress in bright clothing and certainly not in camouflage.

Hire an Attorney for your Case

If you or a loved one were injured while hiking and the injury may be attributed to another person or entity, you may be entitled to compensation. It is important that you speak to an attorney before it is too late. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti have the skill and experience needed to aggressively represent you. Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.


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