Slips, trips, and falls happen to everyone at one point or another. Thankfully, these accidents are often more shocking than they are harmful. However, there are many circumstances where slips, trips, and falls do cause severe injuries. Falls lead to over 8 million emergency room visits per year and one in five falls leads to a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. In fact, fall-related accidents are the number one cause of missed work days.
On top of the pain caused by these accidents, slip and fall victims often end up with mounting medical bills, lost wages from missing work, and other costs related to their injuries. And when that injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, the fall victim deserves compensation for these damages.
Here are some common causes of slip and falls.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Common causes of slip and falls that end up causing injury include hazardous surface conditions, dangerous environmental factors, stairs and ladders, and dangerous occupations.
One of the most common causes of slip and falls are related to surface conditions that are hazardous. Uneven pavement is one major cause of trips and falls. Someone walking in parking lot or on sidewalk can easily get their feet trapped in crevices when the pavement is uneven or cracked. They can also lose their footing when there’s a sudden rise or drop caused by damage to the surface, like a pothole or cracking. Likewise, slippery surfaces pose a danger to people. This can be a result of grease from work materials or newly-cleaned floors that are wet from mopping.
Understably, rainy days can create slip hazards, especially in Florida. One of the most common ways that rain creates a slipping hazard is by causing the floors of a store to become wet from customers tracking in the water. When a store fails to use safety devices like waterproof rugs, fails to clean up the water, or fails to notify the customer that the ground is slippery, they could be held liable for their negligence.
Stairs and Ladders
As one might expect, ladders are common cause of falls. However, most ladder falls are not the cause of negligence. But that is not necessarily the case with stair-related falls. Unstable stairs rails, or the total lack of railing, can send users tumbling down the steps. Stairwells with even steps, those lacking a proper railing, or those with other hazards like poor lighting can all cause a stairwell to be dangerous and may be grounds for a negligence lawsuit.
There are roughly 700 yearly deaths due to slips, trips, and falls in the workplace. Some employees work in conditions that are inherently more dangerous. For instance, construction workers are often on heightened platforms and ladders. Because of the obvious risks, employers in these industries are supposed to maintain strict OSHA safeguards against these types of accidents. Unfortunately, improper training, misused and worn out equipment, and unfollowed safety procedures still lead to falls in these industries.
Slips, trips, and fall injuries are also common among maritime workers. Dangerous areas on ships aren’t always properly marked, and cluttered decks are full of tripping hazards. Considering it’s a $14.6 billion industry in Florida, many Tampa maritime employers could be affected.
Falls often impact employees in seemingly safe workplaces as well. Restaurant staff members and retail workers don’t typically work on ladders and platforms, but they can still fall and injure themself due to negligence. For example, if a employer leaves a pallet out in the middle of a store or a restaurant fails to clean up a grease spill, they could be held responsible for injuries to their employees.
Where Do Slips, Trips, and Falls Occur?
Slips, trips, and falls can happen virtually anywhere you live, work, or spend your free time. Most establishments have to fulfill a duty of care to visitors. If they fail to do so, you could very well have a personal injury case against them if you are injured due to a slip and fall or trip and fall.
Slip and falls can happen anywhere but there are places that these incidents do occur more often, for example:
- Grocery stores and big box stores, where spills and left out boxes can go unnoticed by overworked managers or uncaring employees.
- Restaurants and bars, often cause slip and falls because of the presence of liquids, foods, and grease, as well as hazardous conditions like poor lighting.
- Gyms, like those which have people coming in and out all day can create serious slip in the fall hazards, for example left out weights or slick locker room floors can all create hazardous conditions.
- Parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways, all present a slip and fall hazard when the cement or pavement is broken, cracked, or wet.
- Escalators and stairs, especially those in retail spaces or public places, can create slip and fall hazards by being poorly maintained, having poor lighting, or clutter on the stairway.
- Public areas for Swimming, like springs or beach parks can all have hazardous conditions for falls like slippery shower areas or algae-covered walkways. These places are just as responsible for keeping their areas safe as any other place.
- Workplaces, as mentioned above, our common locations for slip and falls. Since many jobs require dangerous tasks or occur under conditions which may cause somebody to put profit over safety, falls are common in workplaces.
If you were injured after slipping and falling on any of these types of property, the owner of the premises could be held liable.
Determining Liability for Your Slip and Fall
For a business or person to be held liable you have to prove that the offending party acted in a negligent manner. According to Florida state law, the defendant has to be aware of the dangerous condition or of the hazard that caused the fall in order for them to be held responsible for it. For example, a person cannot be held responsible for a hazard that they did not know existed. The hazard must also be foreseeable and preventable, meaning one must be able to foresee that rain will cause the entryway to be wet or that a box in the aisle would cause someone to slip.
These legal requirements can be difficult to demonstrate without the help of an attorney. However, if you are truly injured after a slip and fall that was caused by negligence you have nothing to lose by hiring an attorney so you will not have to worry about proving any of this yourself.
After you suffer a slip and fall that you believe was caused by negligence be sure to follow some simple steps that will help you later improving your case. Take pictures at the scene of the accident, get a police report, and collect witness information so that you have as much proof as possible for later. You should also avoid speaking to the other party’s insurance company or signing any documents. Lots of corporate stores have documents that they bust out before you even hit the ground that waves them of liability. Do not sign them. These companies can use your statements to protect themself later in court or during negotiations. Instead, hire a personal injury attorney to communicate on your behalf.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, speak with an attorney who specializes in this area of law. At Jones Law Group, our slip and fall attorneys thoroughly investigate each case to ensure our clients get maximum compensation for their injuries and suffering. For a free initial consultation, call us at 727-571-1333 or online.