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When falling on icy sidewalks and steps isn't funny

It's that time of year. Nope, not the holidays--those are long gone. It's snowy and icy sidewalks time.

A study last year reported in the New York Post revealed that Brooklyn was the borough with the most complaints for snowy, icy sidewalks after Winter Storm Jonas slammed the city. The neighborhoods in Brooklyn that received the most complaints, according to the study, were Prospect Heights and Park Slope. (Note: we're not taking sides here, and it was just one study.)

While a major storm has held off so far this year (knock on wood), we're still getting typical winter weather, and with it, dangerous walking conditions at times. When you bundle up and head out for work or errands, the last thing you need is to slip on the ice and take a bad fall

What injuries are common?

While you may try to laugh about it as you brush yourself off, you could be really hurt. There are several serious injuries that result from slipping on the ice, like:

  • Fractures
  • Concussions or other brain injuries
  • Joint dislocation
  • Shoulder, back or neck injuries
  • Torn muscles and sprains
  • Cuts and bruises

Everything happens so fast that you might think you're fine, only to realize later in the day--or even a week later--that your lower back is aching, you have a bad headache or are having difficulty putting weight on an ankle.

What can you do next?

After contacting your doctor, you may want to think about the conditions of the spot where you fell. Make a note of the location and the snowy or icy conditions you observed. If it's possible, take a photograph with your cellphone of the sidewalk, entryway, steps or parking lot where you slipped--either at the time of your fall, or later. Having documented evidence of the conditions can help later if you're injured and choose to file a lawsuit.

While some falls are strictly accidental, others could have been prevented by responsible commercial property owners. They have the obligation to keep areas cleared of snow and ice. If they know of problems and don't correct them, they could be held liable. If a sidewalk appeared clear, but was ice-covered, that's a problem, too. You might be entitled to compensation, which could help pay for necessary medical treatment.

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