Don’t Slip: Walking in Icy Conditions

Don’t Slip: Walking in Icy Conditions

January brought record temperatures, along with plenty of snow and ice around the Rockford and northern Illinois area. No matter how long you have lived here, some winters feel especially hard and trying. Winter is far from over, as it is common for us to experience ice and snow well into late March or even early April. How comfortable are you walking on icy surfaces and keeping yourself safe as you run your errands or take a walk around the block? Here are a few tips that will help keep you from slipping or hurting yourself.

Be Alert

Ice can form on sidewalks quickly and sometimes unexpectedly. During the winter months, keep your eyes peeled for any signs of ice. Even when the air temperature is warmer than 32 degrees, freezing ground temperatures can cause drizzle or rain to turn to ice immediately when it hits the ground. You are more likely to slip on ice that you aren’t expecting, so keep yourself safe by always being alert.

Be Cautious

Walking on icy conditions should be a slow-moving affair. You are more likely to slip if you are in a rush, so be sure to take it slow when trekking through parking lots, sidewalks, or other surfaces. If you anticipate being on a longer walk, perhaps taking your child to school or walking your dog, consider using traction assistance on your shoes. You can get traction devices that easily slip on and off your boots, assuring you can move easier on icy walkways.

Look for Salted Areas

Finally, when you have the option to walk on a salted area, choose it. While salt cannot guarantee a slip-free surface, it is typically much safer than a non-salted or maintained walkway.

If you do slip when out and about, take your injuries seriously. Often, our embarrassment from a slip can make us get up and moving again quickly without carefully assessing how we feel. A slip on ice can cause a litany of problems including bruising, sprains, whiplash, and even head trauma. You may not feel the extent of your injuries until the next day, so schedule a doctor appointment if you are sore, especially bruised, or hurt. You should also seek medical attention if you hit your head during your fall.

If you slipped and fell on a walkway or path, you could be entitled to assistance with your medical bills. Give the team at MacCloskey Kesler and Associates a call to talk more about your situation and options. We want to be sure you are healthy and have the compensation you deserve.

When a Member of Your Family Is Injured

When a Member of Your Family Is Injured

Your family is important to you, and when someone you love isn’t feeling quite like themselves, it can make you feel anxious or helpless. If your loved one has been injured recently, or if they are still living with long-lasting effects from a past injury, you can feel anxious and helpless as well. However, injuries are especially hard as they are often unexpected and can have serious financial burden tied to them.

Keeping Your Loved One on the Road to Recovery
When your loved one has been injured, the first step is to get them the medical treatment they need to be healthy and well. Some injuries require an emergency room visit, a few days to rest, and some work restrictions. Other more serious injuries could require hospital stays, surgeries, and a significant pain management plan over the course of weeks, months, or years. It can all feel overwhelming for the injured person and for their immediate family. In order to give your loved one the best chance at recovery, be sure you are keeping track of their medical appointments and follow up appointments.

Keeping Yourself Comfortable
Becoming a caregiver for a loved one living with an injury can be a recipe for burnout and exhaustion. In order to keep yourself healthy, be sure you are enlisting the help of other family members and trusted friends. Learning to ask for help can feel difficult, but you need the reinforcements to keep yourself and your loved one healthy. Ask a friend to pick up your child after school or go on a quick grocery run for you, or ask a family member to take your loved one to his next doctor appointment so that you can squeeze in some extra work time. People are willing to assist you, but you have to tell them what you need help with.

Finally, the insurance paperwork and tasks for an injury claim can feel overwhelming. However, those medical bills keep arriving in your mailbox and giving you additional anxiety about your financial future. Keep calm and enlist the help of the team at MacCloskey Kesler and Associates. We have decades of experience working with clients who have endured an injury.

Our goal is to help the family member and client spend their time and energy focused on feeling better; we take care of assuring the compensation is there and is the best outcome possible. Give us a call today to tell us more about your situation.

Staying Safe on Icy Surfaces

Staying Safe on Icy Surfaces

Perhaps you have already noticed it this season – slick surfaces. Whether you are out walking the dog in the morning and catch a glimpse of an icy spot on the sidewalk, or if you notice an icy patch under a leaking gutter at your workplace, ice is a serious danger for midwesterners this time of year. Thousands of injuries occur each winter thanks to slips and falls due to icy surfaces. Keep yourself safe this winter season by following a few of these tips.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Ice can be especially dangerous as it can be difficult to see. This winter, train your eyes to look for official warning signs that draw attention to slick spots. You can also look for hidden slick spots by looking for glistening spots on sidewalks or driveways, steering clear of essentially anything that appears to be “wet”.

Use Railings
Stairs leading into businesses or homes can be especially dangerous. Ice can accumulate on stairs and make walking up or down them treacherous. To keep from slipping, always use railings when navigating stairs, even if they don’t seem slick.

Choose the Salted Path
When possible, walk on sidewalks or walkways that are treated with de-icing materials like salt. While you should still remain vigilant and step carefully on all surfaces, a salted surface is a safer option than an untreated surface.

Tell Someone
If you are entering someone’s home or a business and encounter dangerous conditions, tell someone. Ice can accumulate quickly, and business or homeowners may be unaware their paths are unsafe.

Seek Help if You Are Injured
Slips and falls can happen even if you are diligent. Icy surfaces are dangerous! If you slip on an icy surface, get the help you need, even if you feel more embarrassed than injured. Like many unexpected injuries, slipping on ice can cause pain and damage you may not feel immediately. However, if you seek medical attention right away, you can receive the treatments you need to feel your best in the days to come.

If you slip on the ice this season, remember to call the team at MacCloskey Kesler and Associates. We have decades of experience advocating for injured clients, and getting them the compensation they deserve. We would be honored to work with you as well.

Slip and Fall Incidents Due to Snow and Ice

Slip and Fall Incidents Due to Snow and Ice

Every winter here in Northern Illinois brings with it the risk of slipping and falling due to snow and ice. At MacCloskeyKesler & Associates, we always get questions this time of year whether someone’s fall is compensable under Illinois law.  The easy answer is “it depends”.
Many law firms won’t even talk to people who have fallen on snow or ice.  The reason for this is because Illinois juries can apportion the fault between the property owner and the one who fell.  This is called “comparative negligence.”  If the negligence of the person who fell exceeds 50% they are legally entitled to nothing in compensation.  Even under the best of circumstances, juries tend to apportion some fault to the one who fell.  So some law firms won’t take fall down cases at all because of the risk of not being able to obtain a recovery.
So how can someone qualify for a recovery?  Illinois draws a distinction between natural accumulations of snow or ice and unnatural accumulations.  If the Court deems the accumulation to be natural, there is no duty for the property owner to remove it, warn you about it, or really do anything about it.  So without more, there is no requirement to even put salt out to remedy ice accumulations.  In a general sense, then, without a duty on behalf of the property owner there is very little chance of recovery.
If, however, the accumulation is unnatural, then the property owner must do something to warn you about it or take steps to ameliorate the condition.  If they don’t, chances are pretty good you’ll be able to get compensation for your injuries (but see the discussion above about apportionment of fault).
How do we know if an accumulation is unnatural?  Well, generally speaking, unnatural accumulations are those that have been caused by the property owner, or made more dangerous by them.  If an owner has a parking lot, and plows his snow and piles it on top of a hill, the runoff that turns to ice at the bottom of the hill is an unnatural accumulation.  If the owner has gutters and downspouts from their roof and places the downspout on a sidewalk, the ice caused when that runoff freezes on the sidewalk is also unnatural.  These are instances when the ice was caused to be formed by the owner.  Those are the clearest form of unnatural accumulations.  There can be others, of course, but it will depend on the particular facts of the incident.
Winter is a time when we in Northern Illinois must be very careful getting around as snow and ice can be very dangerous and falls can cause serious injuries.  If you have been injured in a fall on ice, give us a call to find out what your rights are.  We have had good success with cases involving falls due to snow and ice.  Call us for a free consultation at 815-965-2000.  MacCloskeyKesler and Associates.  Put our personal experience to work for you.

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