Winter in Providence and the rest of Rhode Island can be frequently brutal. On average, the city of Providence receives about 35 inches of snow each winter. Roadways, walkways, parking lots, sidewalks, stairways and other surfaces are covered with newly fallen snow, packed snow or ice, which can create extremely dangerous conditions for pedestrians.
Another hazardous situation we tend to experience in Rhode Island when the temperature dips below zero is known as black ice. This is ice that is transparent and therefore not visible over the black top of roadways. Someone who is walking may not see it until they step on the black ice and slip. Black ice usually forms in the early morning hours or at night in freezing temperatures and when there is not enough sunlight to warm the roadways and melt the ice.
Types of Slip-and-Fall Injuries
When a person slips and falls on snow or ice, a number of injuries may occur including:
- Head injuries or brain injury: Slip-and-fall accidents on snow and ice may result in a brain injury if the person strikes his or her head on a hard object such as the pavement, a step or the curb causing the brain to strike the interior surface of the skull. Traumatic brain injuries may result in anything from a concussion to a permanent disability.
- Spinal cord injuries: A slip-and-fall accident on ice or snow can cause different types of spinal cord injuries from a broken back to a ruptured or slipped disc, strains and sprains, nerve compression, paralysis and loss of muscle control. If you suffer a spinal injury in a slip-and-fall accident, it may be months before you even know the full extent of your injuries. Recovery and rehabilitation may even take years.
- Broken bones: Bone fractures are a common consequence of slip-and-fall accidents on snow and ice. Broken bone injuries often require extensive treatment and victims may not regain strength and mobility, even with rehabilitation.
- Soft tissue injuries: A soft tissue injury is the damage of muscles, ligaments and tendons throughout the body. Common soft tissue injuries usually occur from a sprain or a strain. Soft tissue injuries may result in pain, swelling, bruising or even loss of function.
- Hip and joint injuries: When a person slips and falls on ice, he or she is likely to suffer injuries to the hips and joints. These types of injuries are particularly common among the elderly.
Protecting Victims’ Rights
If you have suffered injuries in a slip-and-fall accident in Providence because a property owner or manager failed to clear snow or ice on their property or due to someone else’s negligence, please understand that you have legal rights. You can seek compensation for damages including but not limited to medical expenses, loss of wages, hospital and rehabilitation costs, permanent injuries, disabilities and pain and suffering. Property owners and managers have a legal obligation to ensure that their premises are safe for visitors, guests and tenants. It would also be in your best interest to contact an experienced Providence personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled snow- and ice-related slip-and-fall cases.