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Winter weather creates significant risk of personal injury

New Jersey, like most of the northeast coast, gets hit pretty hard with winter weather. Snow and ice complicate many aspects of life for residents of the Garden State during the coldest months of the year.

Not only does the low temperature impact how much you pay for heating, but it can also affect the length of your commute to work and your safety. There are many potential dangers during the winter months, and you won't have control over many of them. Knowing how to identify risk factors can keep you safe.

Understanding your rights as a New Jersey resident can help you take action if someone else's negligence winds up injuring you or costing you money.

Slippery roads increase the risk of a car crash

Your risk for a serious collision will increase directly after snowy or icy precipitation. When the roads are slick and frozen, people can quickly lose control, resulting in collisions or even multi-vehicle pile-ups.

You can identify potential risk factors related to icy and snowy roads by watching the weather, monitoring road conditions and adjusting your driving practices and schedule accordingly. Leave more space between yourself and other vehicles, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time for your commute.

Watch out for ice in parking lots and on sidewalks

Slippery surfaces won't just affect your commute. They could also send you flying in a slip-and-fall accident that results in serious injury. Slipping on the ice could mean a broken limb or even a head injury.

Your best option is to proceed cautiously, especially if it's clear that the property or business owner has not removed the snow or ice yet. Invest in good boots, and make sure that you take your time when you walk across slippery surfaces.

Be careful on sidewalks near taller buildings

Another risk factor that people don't often consider is the potential for dangerous snow and ice accumulation on buildings. The taller the building, the farther the snow and ice may fall before it strikes a pedestrian or vehicle.

Snow and ice falling from buildings can cause concussions or even crushed vehicles. When possible, try to avoid walking in close proximity to tall buildings in cold weather, especially during a thaw.

Know your rights to seek compensation for a winter injury

Those who get hurt due to the dangers of winter often have legal rights. For example, property owners and business managers must maintain safe facilities. This includes removing snow and ice from the sidewalk and keeping the floors inside dry.

Building owners should also have safety procedures in place to prevent the accumulation of snow and ice on overhangs that could endanger pedestrians or visitors. Finally, drivers should adjust their habits at the wheel to reflect road conditions.

When individuals fail to take action to keep others safe, the people who get injured or who suffer property damage can hold the responsible parties accountable in civil court.

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