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How to Prepare for Slips and Falls on Boston’s Icy Walkways

When neighbors and local businesses fail to shovel snow or treat icy sidewalks properly, these walkways are hazardous to everyone who steps on them.  Even if you wear sturdy boots and exercise caution as you walk, you may find yourself slipping and falling. In these cases, knowing how to fall “properly” could keep you from sustaining avoid broken bones or other traumatic injuries. That’s where advice from someone who “falls for a living” may prove helpful.

In an interview with NPR, Kevin Inouye, stuntman and assistant professor of acting, movement and stage combat at the University of Wyoming, was asked how one could “fall safely” and reduce the risk of injury. He offered the following tips:

  • Let it happen — If you feel yourself falling, being aware of the fall and accepting that it will happen may allow you to control what happens rather than panicking and making things worse.
  • Try to choose where you land —Positioning your body to land on a fleshy area, or on your shoulders with your chin tucked into your chest, can help your body to better absorb the shock. When a wrist, knee, elbow or head hits the ground, there’s a better chance of sustaining a serious injury.
  • Lean in the opposite direction — Reaching out and leaning into a fall may make things worse. Inouye recommends leaning in the opposite direction of a fall to slow the momentum.

Falls are the most common cause of emergency room visits in the United States. Older people are more likely to suffer serious injuries from falls, but falls on icy surfaces can be a real danger for people of all ages. And that’s why cities impose rules on businesses and homeowners to mitigate hazardous conditions.

Boston property owners are legally required to clear snow from their walkways within three hours after it stops snowing or within three hours after sunrise if it snows overnight. A 42-inch-wide path should be made available so that people in wheelchairs or pushing strollers can pass through. Ice should be removed to bare pavement or treated with sand, sawdust or a similar material. When property owners fail to follow these rules, they can be fined by the city. When that failure results in someone slipping and falling on their property, however, they may face an even greater expense: a lawsuit.

The Boston attorneys of Swartz & Lynch LLP advocate for slip and fall victims in premises liability actions. We represent clients throughout the city and in the surrounding neighborhoods of Suffolk County who have been injured due to hazardous property conditions. Call us at 857-250-0664 or contact us online to arrange your free initial consultation.

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