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Winter and spring carry the risk of slip-and-fall accidents

People can end up hurt any time of the year, but certain seasons increase the risk of specific accidents and injuries. Slip-and-fall incidents are a perfect example. People can suffer a slip-and-fall any time of day and any time of year. All it takes is someone spilling coffee in the foyer of your accountant's office for you to end up in the hospital with a serious brain injury.

However, winter and spring see increased risk for slip-and-fall injuries for people in Maine. After all, these are both seasons marked by increased precipitation and unruly weather conditions. Patches of ice, slush and snow can increase the risk for someone to slip in a parking lot or on a sidewalk, while the rains that make spring flowers bloom can also lead to dangerous wet spots on the floor.

Slip-and-fall incidents are common and very dangerous

Despite what movies would have you believe, a slip-and-fall can be a devastating medical incident. People can sustain broken bones, spinal cord injuries and serious brain injuries as the result of falling. In fact, more than a million people every year seek emergency medical care in the United States related to a slip-and-fall accident. In some cases, bruises and pain are the primary outcomes. In other cases, the injuries can prove debilitating or even fatal.

Many people flail their limbs when falling, which can lead them to strike furniture or fixtures on the way down. Broken arms and serious soft tissue damage can easily result. While bones do heal, in some cases, the trauma can result in permanent conditions, like Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which will persist for life and may make returning to work impossible.

It's also quite common for people to strike their heads when they fall, leading to concussions or traumatic brain injuries. Symptoms for these serious conditions can take days or even weeks to manifest, which is why anyone who strikes their head during a slip-and-fall should always report it and seek medical evaluation as soon as possible afterward.

Businesses should maintain safe facilities for visitors

Anyone who makes their property open and accessible to the public assumes some risk. After all, people could end up hurt on their property, which could result in premises liability. In order to offset the risk associated with an accident or injury, business owners typically carry special liability insurance to protect them against claims related to injures on site.

In addition to carrying insurance, business and property owners should also take steps to reduce potential liability. These include removing accumulated snow and ice from parking lots and sidewalks during the winter months, putting down mats or rugs to absorb water tracked into a facility by visitors, and addressing any leaks or spills as soon as possible. Failing to do so could put anyone who visits the space at risk of injury.

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