With winter getting into full swing in Chicago, fall injuries become more common. Winter conditions make slip and falls occur more regularly. According to the Huffington Post, slip and fall accidents are one of the top causes for injury on commercial property.
However, there are steps that area businesses should take to lessen your and other patrons’ risk of falling and getting injured. Just as changing weather increases risks, your shopping centers and grocery stores should increase the steps they take to lessen your risks. First, these stores should begin with outdoor maintenance. If a business hasn’t taken prompt action to remove ice from areas like outdoor steps, sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots, they put their patrons at risk of injury. This is especially true for parking lots and driveways that are blacktop, because ice is often invisible to most people who are not aware that it is there. In that way, a store owner who is regularly around would realize its presence, but not a customer who is just stopping by. Proper lighting is also helpful for store patrons to see any potential hazards. Also, stores should have salt on hand, as well as signs or safety cones to warn of slippery and dangerous conditions.
Interiors should also be attended to. Ice and snow can easily be tracked into the entrances from the outside. This can create a build-up of water on the floor, causing a slippery surface and hazard to those walking through. Store owners often know in advance which areas this happens to, so they should make sure to mark the area with caution signs, have the area well lit, and have a regular clean-up crew to tend to any water build-up. Extra floor mats can also encourage feet-wiping as well as absorbing extra water that comes inside.
Remember, that if a store or other commercial place of business is aware of dangers from winter weather and has done nothing to prevent or aid the situation, this is negligence. Stores should anticipate that people need to shop for food, supplies, and other necessities no matter the weather. People do not go to local business for everyday needs only during the safe, dry, and sunny seasons of the year. Managers of business have a liability for their premises to those who come to do business at their stores. Citizens of Chicago are knowledgeable about the extreme winter conditions our city can face. For that reason, they should have supplies and staff available to make sure their property is safe for you, and not just ignore the situation. If you have been the victim of a slip and fall on local commercial property due to unnatural accumulations or hazards, and the business owner or property manager did not exercise caution to prevent your fall, there are experienced personal injury attorneys to help you. You do not have to suffer as the result of others’ negligence and deserve to be safe even in the worst of winter conditions.