Slip and Fall Accidents
Though many slip and fall accidents occur at workplaces, they frequently happen on other types of private and public properties too, such as private residences, schools, and shopping malls. While some people walk away with negligible injuries, others may end up in the hospital.
Slip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella of premises liability. This area of law focuses on injuries that result from defective and/or unsafe conditions on another party’s property. The majority are based on negligence, and the injured person must prove that the property owner failed to use reasonable care, which directly led to the injury. The property owner’s negligence could be related to poor maintenance, not following safety regulations, or a variety of other reasons.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Usually Occur?
Workplaces: It is common knowledge that slip and fall accidents often occur at construction sites. This type of work is inherently dangerous because of certain hazardous situations, such as working at great heights, using tools, and being around chemicals and toxic materials. Additionally, these workers are always moving and carrying heavy items amongst heavy equipment and vehicles.
Outdoor recreation areas: Swimming pools and amusement parks are also known for slip and fall accidents. It is easy for someone to fall when there is water on the ground, and people tend to run more in these locales. Parks and playgrounds can also pose problems for both children and adults. When rides and equipment are not maintained properly, people can become seriously injured when they fall.
Large theaters, arenas, and stadiums: These areas are dangerous because not only do they serve food and drinks that can spill, but there are also different levels connected by elevators, escalators, ramps, and stairways. Many of the older venues may not be well-lit or properly maintained and are oftentimes not cleaned as well as they should be.
Homes and parking lots: Poorly maintained sidewalks, driveways, lawns, and parking lots all pose slip and fall hazards. Property owners who allow uneven surfaces, potholes, ice, and other hazards to remain on their grounds put those who use them at risk. Inadequate lighting, malfunctioning signals, and poor signage are also worrisome.
Stores: Many unsuspecting patrons slip and fall inside of stores when spills are not cleaned up quickly enough. Additionally, there may be clutter and debris in walkways, and large, unsecured items can fall from shelves.
Nursing homes: Statistics show that 50 to 75 percent of residents in nursing homes fall every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also claims that falls are the main reason for non-fatal and fatal injuries for this age group. The Mayo Clinic adds that falls are responsible for more than 25 percent of spinal cord injuries, the majority occurring in adults who are aged 65 years and older.
What are Common Slip and Fall Injuries?
The CDC reports that over 95 percent of broken hips occur when people fall. These are serious injuries, and victims normally end up with surgeries and week-long hospitalizations. Afterward, they may need to undergo rehab, which can be quite extensive. Other bones can break during slip and fall accidents, with wrists and ankle fractures also being quite commonplace. When bones experience more pressure than they can handle, the stress can do significant damage. Yet, even though older individuals can suffer more serious bone fractures and breaks, a person’s age and health does not impact premises liability cases.
Some people are fortunate enough to only experience minor abrasions and cuts from slip and fall accidents that only require superficial treatment or stitches. However, there can be more serious underlying injuries that are not immediately detectable. That is why it is imperative to get checked out by a medical professional after a slip and fall accident. Untreated soft tissue injuries, such as torn ligaments and internal organ injuries, can lead to serious complications and years of chronic pain. Those symptoms may not present themselves until days or weeks after a slip and fall.
More Serious Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall victims can also land on their knees, which can dislocate or break. ACL and MCL ligaments can be severely damaged when the knees twist into unnatural positions as they hit the ground. These injuries can take quite long to heal and make it unable for the victim to return to work. Minor neck and shoulder injuries include sprains, torn nerves, broken collarbones, and shoulder dislocations. Major neck injuries can also cause spinal injuries. If the impact from the accident leads to a herniated or slipped disc or fractured vertebrae, it can cause sensory or neurological impairments, limited mobility, considerable pain, and temporary or permanent paralysis.
In the case of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), an individual smacks their head on a surface, object, or the ground when they fall. These run the gamut from small concussions to skull fractures. In the worst-case scenarios, a TBI can cause seizures, impact one’s ability to control bodily functions, affect their brain function, and cause fatalities.
Understanding Premises Liability
Public and private property owners are mandated by laws to maintain safe settings when their properties are open to guests, visitors, and the public. Failing to do so could make them legally responsible for injuries that are directly related to unsafe conditions. The injured party will have to prove that the property owner is liable to receive any damages. To do this, the victim will need to address classification of the victim. If the person was on the property via an express or implied invitation, and for the invitee and property owner’s mutual benefit, the person is an invitee, such as a customer in a convenience store. Licensees are those permitted on properties, such as an electrician performing work in a house. Trespassers who are on one’s property without permission would be held fully liable on their own account.
It must then be proven that the property owner or other responsible party caused a dangerous condition. This could be leaving debris in a hallway, not storing a large box safely on a high shelf, or forgetting to mop up a spill. Then, it must be shown that the owner or employee was aware of the situation yet did not correct it. The victim must also show that the owner should have been aware of the situation and addressed it, and that the dangerous condition caused the injuries.
In successful slip and fall lawsuits, plaintiffs and their legal teams can receive significant damages for medical expenses, lost wages, temporary or permanent disability, and pain and suffering. Serious slip and fall injuries can lead to long-term recoveries and for some, a reduced capability to return to work.
Northeast Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyers at Wiggins Law, LLC Fight for the Compensation Victims Deserve
It is hard to quantify the physical and mental tolls that a serious slip and fall injury incurs, but a Northeast Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer at Wiggins Law, LLC will fight to protect your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling us at 267-225-0770 or complete our online form. Located in Northeast Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Kensington, Tacony, Torresdale, Mayfair, Port Richmond, Allegheny, and Olney.