Anyone who has slipped and regained their footing knows the sense of relief that comes with narrowly escaping a fall. Unfortunately, there are also plenty of times we can’t brace ourselves fast enough, and the consequences can be much more serious than a little shock or embarrassment.
Slip and Fall Statistics
Twenty percent of falls lead to a serious injury like head trauma or broken bones. While people of any age can suffer injuries from a fall, the elderly population is at a higher risk.
Falls are the leading cause of death in adults over 75. Naturally, people become weaker as they age. Less than ideal housing situations, such as living alone or in a negligent nursing home, creates more opportunities for the elderly to fall.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Surfaces that are unfit to walk on lead to many slip and fall accidents. When you’re in motion, uneven pavement and flooring disrupts your walking pattern, and you could take a spill as a result.
Understandably, wet surfaces can also make you lose control of your footing. The Tampa area sees 105 days of rain every year, and on those days, you’re more likely to fall both outside and inside where wet shoes make floors slippery.
Insufficient safety measures can also create an environment where floors are slick, for example spilled fluids or recently cleaned floors that haven’t been marked with a caution sign. This isn’t uncommon in businesses open to the public as well as other workplaces.
Workplace slip and fall accidents also happen because of cluttered areas where workers can trip on equipment and debri.
Falls from unsecured and overworn ladders happen not only on the job, but often in the home while residents are cleaning or doing repairs.
Who is Liable for a Slip and Fall?
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident at a place of business, there has to be proof that the other party is negligent. The dangerous condition that led to your fall must have existed long enough for the business operator to know about it and the dangers have to be foreseeable.
For instance, if you slip at a restaurant because another patron spilled soda just moments before your fall, it might be difficult to prove the restaurant is liable. However, if you fall down the stairs at home because there is no handrails, you’d have stronger proof that your landlord didn’t exercise reasonable care.
The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) has strict guidelines for businesses of all sizes, and the organization encourages workers to file complaints about unsafe conditions. Because of the federal rules and regulations, businesses are typically found to at least be partially at fault when employees slip and fall on the job.
If employers do provide a safe environment and proper equipment, but you opt not to follow proper procedures, it can hurt your case. For instance, a worker who has fallen after using a chair to reach a shelf when a proper ladder was provided likely contributed to the accident.
What Damages Can be Recovered from a Slip and Fall Accident?
Victims of slip and fall accidents can recover expenses for the medical care they needed as a result. This includes bills from doctors, hospitals, and physical therapy facilities as well as transportation to and from those treatments.
They can also seek wages they’ve lost, whether they missed several days of work while recovering or have become permanently disabled.
Those who’ve had to pay for services they normally handle themselves, such as yard work and household chores, can include the cost of services in their case.
Because slip and fall accidents are painful and often traumatizing, victims may also be able to secure compensation for their pain and suffering.
Common Injuries from Slips and Falls
Hip fractures are one of the most severe injuries that can result from a slip and fall accident. They often require surgery.
A third of adults who are 50 and over die within 12 months of hip replacement surgery. Even successful outcomes are difficult – rehabilitation after hip replacement surgery can last up to a year.
In addition to the hips, virtually any bone in the body can become fractured or broken during a slip and fall accident. During a fall, it is easy for knees, wrists, and ankles to be twisted beyond what is natural.
Many people’s heads and backs absorb a harmful amount of impact when they fall, leading to head injuries including TBIs as well as spinal cord injuries. Both traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can cause severe nerve damage and a lifetime of pain. These injuries may also place limits on patients’ abilities to care for themselves independently.
When Should I Contact an Attorney?
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall accident, working with an attorney as soon as possible will help to strengthen your claim. An experienced attorney who is involved in the early stages of a personal injury case can make sure evidence is gathered properly while it is still available. A good lawyer will also make sure you never settle for less than you deserve.
The attorneys of Jones Law Group have secured maximum compensation for clients in countless personal injury cases, including slip and fall cases. If you’ve been injured because of another party, contact us for a free consultation online or by phone at 727-571-1333.