We are experiencing a very cold spell here in the Metro-DC area. When I went out this morning, it required a little extra care in getting to my car. Patches of ice had formed on the driveway, and with the lows for Tuesday expected to be in the 10 degrees, it does not look like the ice will be melting soon.
In addition to being at least somewhat unpleasant, icy conditions are dangerous--both when driving, and when walking to and from the car. Every year I hear from people who are injured when they fall on ice. If that happens to you, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Get medical care! If you think you may be injured after a fall, be sure to seek prompt medical care. Seek help from the emergency room or from your family doctor. Don’t ignore the pain. Chances are it won’t just go away.
- Don’t be afraid to use your health insurance. If you have health insurance, ask the provider to bill you health insurance. Sometimes the hospital might tell you that since it was a fall, they can’t bill your health insurance. Even if you have Medicare or Medicaid, the hospital can (and should) bill your health insurance.
- File a report or report a claim. In most cases, if you fall at a place of business, you should file a report with the company. They usually will provide you with information about their insurance and a claim number. If you fell at a residence, the owner may want to file a claim with homeowner’s insurance. It is not usually a good idea to give a statement, however, until you’ve talked with a lawyer.
- Follow up on medical care. Follow through on what the initial evaluation recommends. Additionally, if you are still in pain or would like more information about what’s going on, don’t be afraid to follow up with another doctor, seek physical or massage therapy, or investigate the possibility of chiropractic treatment. One of these may help you to feel much better.
- Keep notes. If you can, take photos of where you fell, keep notes of how you feel, what you witnessed, when you attend medical appointments, and when you miss work. Our memories are not perfect!
In many cases, the owner of the property is responsible for keeping the property free of ice, and safe. If you are injured, their insurance company may be required to pay your medical expense, lost wages and compensate you for pain and suffering. These are only general guidelines. Please call or email me if you have any questions. You owe it to yourself to be sure that you recover as fully as possible. Keep warm!