slip and fallWhile walking in a shopping mall or parking lot of an apartment complex, most people do not expect to encounter an uneven surface or broken concrete that can potentially trip them. As a matter of fact, most people do not even think about slip and fall accidents until they trip and fall themselves.

Surprisingly, over one million people each year end up in emergency rooms across the country for this very reason. When broken down, the figure equates to 2,000 people per day. Of the total number of all 8 million emergency room visits per year for every reason, slip and fall accidents account for about 12 percent.

Faulty railings, unattended spills on the floor, icy or wet sidewalks, and cratered pavements are just a few of the causes for people slipping and falling, through no fault of their own. A property owner who knew about the dangerous condition but did nothing to correct it could face an injury claim and lawsuit from someone who was injured. This type of negligence displayed by the owner is inexcusable and may force the owner to pay damages to the injured party. A skilled and experienced attorney at Dash Injury Law Firm can help victims file a claim.

What is a Slip and Fall Accident?

The term “slip and fall” has come to be used when describing accidents of the type where someone trips or slips on another person's property and is injured. Generally, this kind of accident falls into the category of premises liability cases. The property or premises where the accident occurred is maintained or owned by another person or entity, and the property owner could potentially be held legally liable.

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

While there are multiple reasons that individuals fall due to tripping or slipping, some of the more common reasons are listed here:

  • Wet floor surfaces, often with no warning sign
  • No safety precautions (handrails)
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Improperly functioning elevators or escalators
  • Poor maintenance of walkways (cracked, broken, potholes)
  • Locations of Premises Liability Accidents

Some common locations where this kind of accident occurs are as follows:

  • Supermarkets
  • Parking lots
  • Sidewalks
  • Office buildings
  • Restaurants
  • Another person's property and/or home
  • Shopping malls
  • Hardware stores

The U.S. Department of Labor, through its Occupational Safety & Health Administration, has issued and published guidelines to help employers keep their workplaces safe and to help minimize the chances that a slip and fall accident will occur. However, this type of accident is still a public health problem due to its frequency and expense.

Who is Likely to Slip and Fall?

People of all ages are at risk of suffering an injury from a fall. Older adults age 65 and over, however, seem to face a higher risk of danger from falling, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It appears on average that one out of every four senior citizens falls each year. Once a senior has fallen, the chances of falling again double. The CDC notes that non-fatal fall injuries cost around $50 billion annually.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has its own statistics, as well, concerning this topic. The WHO states that falling is the second most common cause of unintentional and accidental injury deaths each year worldwide. Traffic accidents are the number one cause. Children have a high risk of catastrophic falls because they tend to take high risks through potentially dangerous actions.

Individuals such as construction workers who are working in hazardous, high-height professions stand a great possibility of being injured in a fall. Others who use alcohol, illicit drugs, and pain medications are also at a greater risk of injury through falling.

Injuries From Falls

While some falls do not cause severe injury, approximately 1 out of 5 falls result in serious injury, according to the CDC. These injuries range from broken bones to crucial head injuries. Tragically, such an injury can abruptly affect individuals' ability to get around, to do their daily activities, or to still be able to live alone. Below are some of the adverse effects of falls:

Serious head injuries Head injuries can vary from mild to very severe. The victim might not realize the extent of the injury right away. If the individual takes blood thinners, the effects of the fall can be even more dangerous. Older people who injure their head in a fall should be seen right away by a medical professional to determine whether there is a brain injury.

Fear of falling After a fall, whether or not injury was involved, a fear of falling again can force the victim to withdraw from physical activity and become more sedentary. This change in behavior and activity can lead to physical weakness and an increased chance of falling again.

Broken bones Slipping and falling can easily result in a broken arm, wrist, ankle, or hip. A common bone injury caused by falling are hip fractures. A shocking 95 percent of all hip fractures are due to a fall. Because such an injury requires invasive surgery, a victim usually goes through a tremendous amount of pain, agony, and suffering. In addition, physical therapy, rehabilitation and a lengthy period of limited mobility typically follow. In a moment of time, an individual's entire life can be changed due to a slip and fall accident.

Know What to do After a Fall

When someone experiences a fall and subsequent injury from a property owner's negligence, the victim needs to take certain steps to protect the right to recover damages. Begin by writing down pertinent details such as:

  • The date, time and weather conditions
  • Type of clothing and shoes the victim was wearing
  • Any obstructions that caused the fall
  • All witnesses' names and contact info
  • The exact location of the accident
  • If indoors, the room and floor conditions (wet, dry, damaged, unlit, etc)
  • Names of any store or corporate personnel involved

To Prove a Slip and Fall Claim

When an individual has been injured in a slip and fall accident that was caused by a property owner's negligence, there is a need for the victim's attorney to prove certain points in a premises liability lawsuit. There must be proof that:

  • A dangerous condition existed
  • A reasonable property owner would not have allowed the condition to remain and would have corrected it

1 - Dangerous Condition An unreasonable risk of harm must have been present on the property, and it had to be a condition that no reasonable person would have anticipated nor expected. In essence, the hazard was not obvious and not avoidable.

Let's say someone had spilled a sugary soft drink in an aisle at the supermarket, and the spill had remained there for such a long time that the substance had turned somewhat sticky. Then, a customer rounds the corner of this aisle while pushing a cart that blocks the view of the spill on the floor, and the customer slips and falls, breaking a hip. A dangerous condition existed, and the spill remained a danger through negligence.

2 - Reasonable Property Owner Besides proving that a dangerous condition existed, a victim's attorney must also show that a reasonable property owner would not have permitted the bad condition to remain. Taking the above supermarket scenario a bit further, a reasonable supermarket owner would have a plan in place for periodic checks to be made throughout the whole store frequently. Knowing that customers are coming and going, the owner would not want to allow any dangerous conditions to mar their visits and create the potential for a premises liability suit against the store.

Questions Provoking an Investigation

The attorney for a slip and fall victim will have some key information to uncover. As part of the investigation, the lawyer will research to answer these questions:

  • Was the hazardous condition in existence long enough that the property owner could be aware of it?
  • Is there a routine procedure in place to regularly examine the premises, and is there documented proof that the procedure takes place?
  • Was there a reason for this area to be dangerous, as in a slippery floor having just been mopped?
  • Why is the area hazardous? Was there a way for it to be made safer?
  • Did an object cause the tripping, slipping or fall? If so, could it have been kept elsewhere to eliminate the danger?
  • Would a barrier or warning sign have helped prevent the injury?

How an Attorney Can Help

The experienced attorneys at Dash Injury Law Firm can help determine your claim's value and hold the negligent party legally accountable. Speak with a legal representative who has the ability to help ensure justice for your case and bring about the most successful outcome possible.

Dash Injury Law Firm provides slip and fall lawsuit services in the surrounding areas of the following locations:

We are committed to serving our clients and fighting for the compensation and justice they deserve. Call our legal team today at 888-(DASH-LAW) or complete an online contact form.

The information contained in these pages should not be taken as a substitute for legal advice and it is in fact not legal advice, especially as to cases which are highly fact-specific.