Cabin fever, the feeling of listlessness and irritability that comes with winter isolation, is a familiar phenomenon to most Canadians. This coming winter, with communal spaces likes gyms, community centres, and churches closed due to the pandemic, levels of cabin fever could reach an all-time high. For many, there will be only one cure: bundle up and get outside.
Slip and fall lawyers in Ontario and elsewhere are already concerned that an increase in winter activities could lead to a spike in personal injury claims. From Winnipeg to Toronto, safety activists are calling on community stakeholders to ramp up snow and ice removal efforts.
Every winter in Ontario, hundreds of people are seriously injured in slip and fall accidents. For some of the province’s more vulnerable citizens, snow- and ice-covered sidewalks make leaving the house impossible.
“For many of us and many of our centres, the ability to get outside and enjoy relatively OK fresh air right now is very, very important for our own mental health and our physical health,” said Connie Newman, executive director of the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres, to CBC News Manitoba. “I love to walk in my neighbourhood, and yet with our icy conditions, it makes it almost impossible because of fear of falling.”
Falling on an icy sidewalk usually causes nothing more than a bruised ego. However, people of all ages can suffer catastrophic injuries from such an accident, and older Canadians are particularly susceptible. Without being able to visit friends and family this winter, outdoor excursions may be seniors’ only avenue to staying active and breaking the monotony. As such, it will be critical for everyone in the community – local governments, business owners, and private citizens alike – to be proactive about clearing ice and snow.
“Right now, trails and getting outside is really the only recreational opportunity that is available,” said Winnipeg Trails Association executive director Anders Swanson, also to CBC Manitoba. “I think it’s taken on an importance that even we couldn’t have conjured before this. People are going to need to get outside. More than ever, we need to look at … the ways we maintain our existing pathway networks to make sure that everybody has access.”
In large cities like Toronto, where Neinstein’s slip and fall lawyers are headquartered, municipal snow-clearing must also apply to designated bike lanes.
As the COVID-19 pandemic in North America stretches into its first winter, Canadians are bracing themselves for a uniquely challenging start to 2021. With luck – and buy-in from municipalities – rising slip and fall accidents won’t add to the expected hardships.
If you or a member of your family have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our slip and fall lawyers will review your claim and explain your legal options.
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