It’s that time of year! The white stuff is falling and everyone is rushing to get their winter tires installed. While you wait for your tires to be changed, take a look at the ‘tires’ on your feet – your snow boots!
Why, you ask?
Even if you take your car everywhere, you inevitably have to walk from the parking spot to the grocery store, cross the street, or walk up the sidewalk to get to your friend’s house. Not only can a good pair of winter boots with solid tread potentially prevent you from having a bad spill and suffering injuries in these snowy/icy conditions, it may end up saving you thousands of dollars down the road.
How, you ask?
If you are injured as a result of a slip and fall on snow/ice on private or public property that has been negligently maintained you may have a claim against the occupier of that property for damages. However, one of the defenses which the occupier’s insurance company will inevitably raise is that you were the author of your own misfortune and, in some way, caused or contributed to the accident – including that you were wearing inappropriate footwear, or that your footwear was too old and worn down, for the weather conditions. If your footwear is inappropriate for winter walking conditions or worn out, the lawyer for the defendant will seek a reduction of your damages for contributory negligence (the degree to which you were at fault for your own injuries).
Here is an example of how a finding of contributory negligence can result in a significant financial loss for you, the injured person. If your damages are assessed at $100,000, but the court finds that you contributed to your own accident, it will reduce your damage recovery by a certain percentage, the size of which will depend on the circumstances of your fall. Wearing inappropriate shoes for the weather conditions could easily reduce your damage award by 25%. Using the above example this would mean a $25,000 loss to you.
Suddenly a $150 investment in a good new pair of winter boots does not seem to be a bad idea. Alternatively, you can consider purchasing spikes (approximately $30) for your existing boots to give additional traction on snow and ice.
The moral of the story:
1) Wear appropriate footwear for the weather conditions;
2) Make it a habit to check the quality of the tread on winter boots like you do for winter tires; and
3) Replace winter boots as needed, or extend the life of older boots by adding spikes.
If, despite your best efforts to wear appropriate footwear, you slip and fall on public or private property, and you suffer injuries as a result, contact us to discuss your rights.
For more important information on slip and falls on private property and public property, check out our previous blog here.