Winter has come, which means snowy sidewalks, icy highways, and a whole host of winter weather-related injury risks. Not only should you be concerned with keeping yourself safe out there, but you could be liable for someone else’s injuries if you allow adverse weather conditions make your property dangerous or detract from your driving ability.
No one wants a lawsuit on their hands to ruin their holidays, so here are five seasonal injury risks, and how to avoid them.
1. Shovel Your Sidewalk or Face Potential Liability
We know: it’s cold out there, you’re not sure where the shovel is, the guy next door didn’t shovel his walk either, and you’re pretty sure the heavy stuff isn’t gonna come down for quite a while. Still, if someone slips on ice or snow on your sidewalk and hurts themselves, you might be on the hook for damages.
2. Winter Car Crashes: Can You Blame the Weather?
Accidents in inclement weather are inevitable. But there are ways to drive more carefully, avoid dangerous areas, and be prepared for a car crash. And if you’re not taking the proper precautionary measures, your pleas that the weather was at fault may fall on deaf ears.
3. Do Cities Have to Plow Snow on Bike Lanes?
If you’re a particular type of cyclist, it won’t matter that the temperatures have dipped below freezing and snow is whipping around you like a frosty hurricane — you’re going out for a ride. And if that ride is along city streets, you might be wondering whether snow crews are required to plow the bike lanes along with the car lanes. The answer may vary from state to state, and might depend on the kind of bike lane involved.
4. Will Your Snow Globe Ignite a House Fire?
You were just worried about outdoor injury risks? It’s not uncommon that our indoor holiday decorations can pose just as much of a danger as some foul weather. Snow globes igniting inside might be a rare occurrence, but they’re a useful reminder to keep an eye on any brightly-lit baubles around the house.
5. Can a Snowball Fight Land You in Court?
It’s all fun and games until the NFL player your were lobbing snowballs at starts returning fire into the stands. Make sure any and all snowball fights maintain a merry tone, and maybe don’t listen to that voice in your head telling you to pack some ice and rocks into your next projectile. Unless, of course, you want some coal and a lawsuit in your stocking this year.