As the weather turns warmer and the days grow longer, many people spend more time outside. While there are many benefits to getting out and getting more active, summer activities also introduce new risks. One of those is an increased risk of certain types of slip, trip, and fall injuries.
It’s natural to think of slipping and falling as a winter phenomenon. Ice and snow are among the most obvious slip and fall hazards, but they are far from the only ones. Some slip, trip, and fall hazards are present year-round, but are encountered more frequently during warmer weather, when people are more active outdoors. Others are specific to warmer seasons.
Warm Weather Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards
One of the most common summer-specific slip and fall pitfalls is water. Although it is obviously possible to slip on a wet floor or pavement at any time of the year, the warmer seasons present specific risks. For example, wet surfaces around public pools, local splash pads, and water parks present a common slipping hazard. But slipping on wet surfaces isn’t confined to water recreation areas. In the warm weather, people are also more likely to be engaged in activities like:
- washing cars in their driveways, sending soapy water cascading onto the sidewalk,
- conducting outdoor cleaning, such as decks, porches, and walkways, and
- watering their lawns using garden hoses or sprinklers
In the hot summer, you may also see sprinklers turned on for children to run through, kids spraying one another with hoses, and a variety of other outdoor projects and activities involving water—sometimes, soapy water.
Not only are these hazards increased, but people tend to be less prepared for them in the summer. While most of us walk carefully on ice and are conscious of the risks, the same tends not to be true when running down the sidewalk in the summer or climbing out of a pool. These water hazards aren’t necessarily confined to the areas where you might expect to them either. For example, you may find water tracked indoors at a recreation facility, into an adjoining snack bar near the pool, in locker rooms, parking lots, and other areas adjacent to water activities.
Wet surfaces aren’t the only source of increased during the summer, though. Another common example is a greater number of tripping hazards, such as gardening tools, toys, bicycles, and even construction materials.
Of course, property owners are generally responsible for maintaining premises in safe condition, so if you are injured because you slipped or tripped on something that shouldn’t have been left on the walking surface, the owner or operator of the property may be legally responsible for your injuries and you may be entitled to compensation.
Year-Round Slipping or Tripping Risks May be Magnified in the Summer
Many hazards exist year-round, such as:
• Broken sidewalks, parking lots, and other outdoor surfaces
• Debris left on walking surfaces
• Holes in the ground
• Poorly lighted areas
While these hazards aren’t themselves more dangerous in the summer than the winter, warm-weather behaviors can increase the risks. For example, few people run full-speed down an ice-covered sidewalk, but many will take that risk on the wet pavement surrounding a pool. Similarly, far more people come in contact with tripping hazards such as uneven ground and protruding roots on nature trails during warmer seasons. And, lighter, more open, less stable shoes can leave people more vulnerable to slips and trips and increase injuries.
Taking Protective Measures against Summer Slips and Trips
Improve summer safety by precautions such as:
- Watching out for water on the ground and other hazards
- Walking carefully on wet or uneven surfaces
- Avoiding distractions while walking just as you do when driving
- Picking up gardening implements, toys and other tripping hazards
If an injury does occur because someone else failed to fix a broken porch step, clean up soapy water, pick up tools, or otherwise maintain premises in a safe condition, remember that help is available. An experienced premises liability attorney like Kevin J. Broderick can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.