Our Denver Attorneys Want You to Stay Safe in the Colorado Winter
We all know the popular holiday song, “Let It Snow.” The first line begins with: “Oh the weather outside is frightful.” Unfortunately, this is an accurate description of the weather for many winter days and nights. Harsh winter weather presents risks to everyone but is particularly hazardous for seniors. The personal injury team at Levine Law discusses some of the biggest threats during the winter season and includes recommendations for staying safe.
Injury Attorneys for Winter Weather Accidents in Denver
Here in Denver, we get plenty of snow and ice every winter. Unfortunately, while this means lots of opportunities for skiing and sledding, it also means that winter weather-related accidents are a routine occurrence. While many snow and ice accidents involve vehicle collisions, a large percentage also involves pedestrians and shoppers on sidewalks, in parking lots and in stores and businesses. At Levine Law, our personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in all types of winter weather accident cases, including those involving:
- Dangerous parking lots
- Hazardous snow and ice accumulation
- Slippery sidewalks, stairs and pedestrian crossings
- Snow and ice melt inside of buildings
- Trip and fall hazards obstructed by accumulating snow or slush
In addition to these types of accidents, our personal injury lawyer are also available to represent individuals who have been injured skiing, snowboarding and participating in other winter activities. This includes representation for cases such as:
- Chairlift accidents
- Collisions between skiers and snowboarders
- Collisions with snow equipment and stationary objects
Colorado Snow & Ice Accident FAQs
Isn’t it my own fault if I slipped and fell on snow or ice?
No, not necessarily. While it is important to be cautious while walking on snow or ice, there are still several types of slip and fall hazards that are outside of your control.
Who is responsible for clearing snow from a parking lot or sidewalk?
It depends. On private property, the property owner will be responsible for maintaining its premises in a reasonably safe condition. On a public sidewalk, the City of Denver could be liable, or an adjacent property owner may be responsible for keeping the sidewalk clear.
If I signed a waiver at a ski resort, can I still file a claim for compensation?
Potentially, yes. While ski resorts typically require broad liability waivers, (i) these waivers are not always entirely comprehensive, and (ii) you may have grounds to assert that the waiver is legally unenforceable. If you signed a waiver, our attorneys can help you understand your legal rights.
How much compensation can a personal injury lawyer pursue for me?
The amount of compensation available will depend on a variety of factors relating to the extent and long-term effects of your injuries. While we cannot guarantee any results, in cases involving severe traumatic injuries, we have been successful in recovering millions of dollars for our clients.
How long do I have to file a claim for a weather-related accident?
In most cases, you will have two years from the date of a weather-related accident to file a claim for compensation. However, in order to preserve your claim for maximum compensation, we strongly encourage you to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
Driver Safety for Snow and Ice
Winter driving is particularly treacherous. Combine snowy, icy roads with the fact that seniors have the most accidents per mile than almost any other age group, and “I’ll be home for the holidays” might be a nice song but not a good idea. Your Denver accident lawyer has the following recommendations for safe winter driving:
- Keep your car in top condition. Check tires for proper tread and pressure, check antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid and check the battery.
- Stock your car with emergency supplies in case you are ever stuck in a storm.
- Always travel with a fully charged cell phone and a car charger.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas.
- Never drive tired and always drive appropriately for the weather conditions.
In addition to the above preventative measures, it is essential to stay informed about the weather. If there is a Winter Weather Advisory or a Winter Storm Warning, adjust your plans accordingly. It is better to arrive later than planned or to cancel a trip than to get into an accident.
Winterize Your Car and Home
In addition to the above safety tips, your Denver injury law firm advises winterizing your vehicle and your home and maintaining each during the winter months. Specifically, have your furnace cleaned and readied for winter use. Fix any insulation problems and seal drafty windows and/or doorways with tape or padding in order to keep cold air out and warm air in. Put winter tires on your vehicle, make sure your brakes work properly, and check all your fluids–especially windshield wiper fluid. Put a bag of sand or salt in the trunk, along with a blanket, a pair of boots, some water bottles, and a first aid kit.
In addition to winterizing your home and vehicle, winterize yourself. Dress for the weather! Wear a winter coat, and don’t forget the hat and gloves–and boots when it snows.
Remember to Keep Seniors Safe from Winter Weather
Seniors are at higher risk for hypothermia because they cannot regulate their internal body temperature as well. Sometimes, older people can be suffering from hypothermia and not even realize it. Therefore, it is crucial that people be aware of the symptoms of hypothermia, which include: a lot of shivering, cold skin that is pale or ashy, slurred speech, sluggishness, confusion, dizziness, shallow breathing, unusual behavior, and slow, irregular heartbeat.
To protect against being cold inside the home, maximize energy and minimize drafts with insulation and weather-stripping. Check and clean the fireplace and furnace, and replace furnace filters monthly. Keep the thermostat at 68 degrees. If doing so is difficult, look into energy assistance programs. To protect against cold while outside the home, dress warmly in layers. Keep your head covered, since a lot of body heat is lost through the head. Wear mittens or gloves to avoid frostbite.
Although slips and falls are always a potential hazard for seniors, winter presents a greater risk because of icy, snowy conditions. Doctors warn that the fall itself is not necessarily what causes the most harm; often it is complications from a hip fracture or head trauma in older people that lead to more serious and even fatal consequences. To protect against falls, make sure steps and walks are cleared and salted. If there is fresh ice or snow on the pavement, try to walk on a grassy side, if possible. Use hand railings and assistive walking devices. And above all: wear boots with non-skid soles.