Winter is a time for sledding, ice skating, and skiing. If you’re not careful, it can also be a time for injuries. For those of us brave enough to venture outside the comfort of our centrally conditioned home, the danger looms at every step we take in the frozen wilderness that once was our warm and sunny neighborhood.

The hazards start pretty much the minute you walk out the door in the morning. When there’s snow and especially ice on the ground, it’s more important than ever that you truly watch where you’re going. Take careful and deliberate steps. Ice patches can sneak up on you without warning. Whenever possible, where shoes that will give you decent traction on slippery surfaces. Are forecasters in your area calling for an especially brutal winter? Then you may want to look into purchasing crampons that attach to your shoes. They’re typically worn by ice climbers, but you can purchase lightweight versions for use at home.

What happens if you fall anyway? If possible, try to land on a fleshier part of your body. Landing on bone just makes you more likely to break something. When we fall, many of us have a tendency to use our arms or hands to try and break the fall, but that’s a very bad idea in winter. If you have to choose, it’s generally better to fall on your butt and bruise your tailbone than to land on your side and break a collarbone. It’s obviously better not to fall at all, but the outdoors is full of landmines in the winter months, and not all homeowners are going to throw rock salt on the sidewalk in front of their house. Even rock salt can only do so much.

If you do land awkwardly and suspect that you’re injured, it’s important to seek medical care right away. If a bone is broken, it’s time to head to the nearest hospital without delay.

Cities with lots of experience in dealing with winter weather generally have snow and ice removal plans. Property managers and homeowners may also be expected to take certain measures to mitigate the risk of injury. If you slip and fall because your apartment complex parking lot has been an ice rink for three days straight, then the people who manage your apartment complex may be partially to blame. If multiple people complained and the property managers still refused to take any action, then that makes the odds even better that negligence was at play somehow.

However, it’s hard to know if you have a personal injury case until you talk to a personal injury attorney in your area. If you’re struggling with medical debt for a fall that you don’t think was your fault, then it’s not a bad idea to make a few phone calls and talk about your chances of prevailing in court. That’s especially true if you feel the business or property owner is refusing to treat you fairly after you were injured. It’s an unfortunate fact that many powerful people will only take responsibility if there’s an attorney holding their feet to the proverbial fire. Most lawyers offer free initial consultations, which means you don’t have to spend any additional money before deciding whether or not to move forward with a civil suit.