Many people fail to realize how common slip, trip, and fall accidents are and how often they inflict serious injuries or death. According to the National Safety Council, more than 33,000 people died from falls in 2015, with the majority of them being over the age of 65 years old. Thousands more victims suffer serious injuries requiring treatment at an emergency room or hospital. Often these slip and fall accidents are caused by the negligence of a business or property owner.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, the experienced legal team at Case Barnett Law is here to help you obtain the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. We are committed to fighting aggressively to obtain justice for you, communicating with you frequently so that you know what is happening in your case, and involving you in important decisions regarding your claim. Schedule your free consultation by filling out our online form to learn more about how we can assist you.
What Are the Types and Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?
Property and business owners have a duty to keep their properties reasonably free of hazardous conditions and to warn visitors and guests of dangers. When they fail to do so, they can be found negligent in causing an individual’s injuries and responsible for compensating him for his injuries.
There are four types of fall accidents:
- Slip and fall. When a person’s foot does not correctly fall to the ground in a way that supports his center of gravity, the person’s feet can slip from under him in a slip and fall accident.
- Trip and fall. A trip and fall can occur when a person encounters debris or other obstacles or he stumbles on damaged flooring.
- Stump and fall. This type of fall accident occurs when a person’s foot gets stuck by an impediment, such as torn carpeting, while he is walking.
- Step and fall. These falls happen when a person’s foot hits something unexpected, like a dip in pavement or a pothole, which causes him to fall.
Slip and fall accidents can be caused by a variety of hazardous conditions that are often preventable if the owner took its guests’ safety more seriously. Common causes include the following:
- Wet floors. When spills or snow, ice, or rainwater are not promptly cleaned up, a dangerous slip and fall accident can happen. If the property owner cannot remove the danger quickly, he has a duty to put up a warning sign to alert others to the hazard.
- Debris. If trash is not cleaned up or debris, boxes, and merchandise are left strewn in store aisles, they can create tripping hazards.
- Wet walkways. Businesses and property owners can be liable for injuries due to a fall when they breach their duty to remove accumulations of snow and ice on sidewalks, parking lots, steps, stairs, and any other outside walkways.
- Damaged floors and stairs. Torn, frayed, or loose carpeting and cracked or broken flooring can be a slip and fall hazard for unsuspecting guests. Stairways can also become dangerous when damaged treads or loose or broken handrails are not repaired.
- Inadequate lighting. When hallways, parking lots, and other places are not properly lit, a person will be unable to see potential hazards, such as a pothole or debris in a store aisle.
- Cracks and potholes. Sidewalks and parking lots can become treacherous when cracks, crumbling concrete, or potholes are not filled or covered or hazard signs put up. Due to the weather, these areas require regular inspection and maintenance by owners.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Potential slip and fall dangers exist everywhere, and people probably do not realize that they risk a slip and fall accident every day when they leave their homes. Anyone who has permission to enter a private or public property—an invitee or a licensee, in legal terms—may be eligible to demand compensation if a hazard causes him to fall. Places where slip and fall accidents often occur include:
- Theaters, stadiums, amusement parks, and other recreational facilities
- Swimming pools
- Parks and playgrounds
- Sidewalks and parking lots
- Nursing homes and retirement homes
- Office buildings
- Construction sites
- Private homes
- Rental properties
Victims of Slip and Fall Accidents Can Suffer Life-Altering Injuries
A victim of a slip and fall accident can suffer serious injuries that can cause him to experience chronic pain and limitations in his day-to-day activities. In some cases, a person will be unable to perform his former job duties and may need to make a career change; some injury victims will become permanently disabled.
Here are some common injuries that victims suffer:
Sprains and fractures. In a slip and fall accident, a person can twist the ligaments in his knee or ankle or break bones if he lands hard in a fall. Multiple bones can be broken if a person falls from a height.
Hip fractures. A common and serious injury in a slip and fall accident is a hip fracture, which can sometimes cause the victim’s death. Treatment for a hip fracture usually involves surgery and a lengthy stay at a nursing home for rehabilitation therapy.
Shoulder injuries. Victims can suffer a shoulder dislocation referred to as “brachial plexus injury” where the network of nerves connecting the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm, and hand are damaged. Other shoulder injuries are also possible, and all of these injuries can cause intense pain and serious movement limitations. Treatments include surgery and physical therapy.
Back and spinal cord injuries. The impact of a fall can cause a person to suffer fractured vertebrae, slipped or herniated discs, strained muscles and tendons, and sprains of ligaments that can result in pain and movement limitations. Extreme spinal cord injuries can result in partial or total paralysis.
Head injuries. Falls are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury that can result in changes to a person’s vision, hearing, or mobility. In addition, a victim can experience devastating changes to his reasoning, concentration, memory, emotions, and decision-making abilities that can result in permanent disability.
Victims of a slip and fall accident may be entitled to compensation for their lost wages, pain and suffering, and more from the negligent property or business owner who caused their injuries.
Let Our Experienced Slip and Fall Attorneys Take Over the Burden of Settling Your Claim for Compensation
Unless you suffer a truly minor injury, such as a sprained ankle or bruises and cuts that healed quickly, you need the assistance of an experienced slip and fall attorney to obtain the compensation that you deserve for your serious injuries. Liability of the negligent party can be difficult to prove. The insurance company could also argue about the severity of your injuries—all in an attempt to deny or reduce your claim.
At Case Barnett Law, our legal team will begin your case by conducting a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your accident; obtaining documents such as your medical records and paystubs; and hiring expert witnesses as they become necessary. Once you recover from your injuries or receive a final prognosis, we will attempt to settle your claim with the negligent party’s insurance company.
We are committed to obtaining the compensation that you deserve, and we will file a lawsuit on your behalf if this becomes necessary. This involves filing paperwork with the court; engaging in discovery to obtain written answers to questions, the production of documents, and deposition testimony; and possibly taking your case to trial. While litigation can be lengthy, it could be needed to convince the insurance company to settle your claim for what you are owed. We are experienced trial litigators who are not afraid to take your case to trial if this is in your best interests.
Call our office today to schedule your free consultation where we will give you an honest evaluation of your claim and discuss the ways that we will fight hard to hold the negligent party accountable.