As the winter weather descends upon the province, the season’s beauty also brings challenges that can turn the snowy scenery into hazardous terrain with the risk of weather-related personal injury claims. Alberta, known for its harsh winters, experiences icy roads, snow-covered sidewalks, and freezing temperatures that can all contribute to various accidents, ranging from slips and falls to recreational accidents to motor vehicle collisions. As such, it is important to look at the legal avenues available to those injured due to a winter weather-related accident.

This blog will explore the unique aspects of winter weather and the potential legal implications for those who are victims of personal injury incidents during the colder months. From the duty of property owners to maintain safe premises to the responsibilities of drivers navigating icy roads, this blog will provide an overview of the intricate web of regulations and standards that play a crucial role in determining liability.

Although accidents can happen at any time of year, the cold and snowy winter conditions can cultivate a particularly unforgiving season. Embracing the outdoors and taking advantage of Alberta’s many recreational activities, such as world-renowned ski hills, tobogganing, or snowmobiling trails, there is an implied risk involved when undertaking any activity that all participants should be aware of. 

Each year, thousands of individuals find themselves in the emergency room due to injuries sustained as a result of such activities. However, taking steps to mitigate your risk of injury can go a long way. For example, wearing an approved helmet, being aware of your surroundings, and ensuring the area is free and clear from hazards or obstructions can decrease the chance of severe injury. When engaging in recreational activities, such as snowmobiling, it is important to be mindful of speed and drive appropriately for the trail conditions to mitigate the risk of a collision with an object or another vehicle. It is also imperative that you do not operate a motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. 

Take action to prevent winter accidents 

As a pedestrian, it is important to know that sidewalks, parking lots, inside floors and private walkways can quickly become slippery and hazardous due to winter weather. A slip and fall can result in serious injuries, including fractures to wrists, ankles, or head injuries, whether snow and ice-covered or slippery due to melting snow and rain. To reduce the risk of such injuries, it is important to wear appropriate footwear with traction, slow down and watch where you step. It is recommended to stick with well-maintained sidewalks, walkways and floors that are clear of slipping hazards, sanded or salted, and are well-lit areas. 

When participating in outdoor sports or other winter recreational activities, it is important to wear appropriately fitted protection gear, dress for the weather, stay with another person or group, and remain within the outlined boundaries at public recreational spaces. 

Ensure that your vehicle is adequately maintained and in good working order, including winter tires, lights, and windshield wipers, to ensure you have a clear view of the road ahead. It is imperative to drive appropriately for the weather conditions and plan the safest route. Give yourself time to get to your destination without rushing, as following too closely and excessive speed on poor road conditions can increase the likelihood of an accident. 

What should you do if you have been injured?

Navigating the aftermath of a personal injury sustained during the winter months involves understanding this season’s specific challenges. Immediately following an accident, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is imperative, as the unforeseen consequences of a serious injury can be catastrophic. If possible, it is recommended to take photos of the location of the accident injuries and collect witness information, if applicable. It is also helpful to record the weather conditions at the time of the accident, along with notes on your injuries and symptoms and their impact on your daily activities. Tracking lost income, such as medical expenses and lost income, can also be important when assessing the value of your claim. 

Whether you are a pedestrian injured on an icy sidewalk or are injured participating in an outdoor activity, it is also important to speak with a trusted personal injury lawyer to ensure that you recover the compensation you may be entitled to. Determining liability in such cases requires thoroughly analyzing whether property owners, municipalities, or other parties may be responsible for the conditions leading to the accident and your resulting injury. 

If you have been injured in a winter weather-related accident and have suffered a personal injury, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie in Calgary for trustworthy legal advice and representation. Our personal injury team will review your circumstances and handle your personal injury claim from start to finish. Navigating the claims process after an accident can be confusing and time-consuming, so our lawyers collect the necessary information to position you for the best possible outcome. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our team members, contact us online or at 403-571-0555.