Frequently Asked Questions About Slip-And-Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents can become complex premises liability cases. It is important that you have an experienced legal advocate on your side to see a case through the system if you are seriously hurt and have medical bills.
Explore common questions and answers that we often hear at The Law Office of Christopher Jackson.
- Where do slips and falls typically occur?
The following are common places where people are sometimes injured when they slip or trip and fall on floors, stairs and other surface types:
- Homes: Uneven or icy sidewalks and stairs needing repair can cause private home falls.
- Places of employment: Numerous workman’s comp claims are due to falls in parking lots that may not be well lit or have icy surfaces.
- Construction sites: Cluttered materials, equipment left out and slick floors from drips can cause falls and workman’s comp cases.
Other places where falls take place include:
- Public property
- Elevators and escalators
- Manufacturing and service buildings
- Apartment complexes
- Sports arenas
- Public parks
- Nursing homes
- Retail and food service establishments
- I fell at a store; what should I do?
If you fell at a store or restaurant, follow these points:
- Report your fall to the manager or owner.
- Get the details of the incident in writing and ask the manager or owner for a copy before you leave.
- Document specifics, the location you fell and obtain witness contact information.
- Limit your discussion with the owner or manager.
- Contact an attorney immediately.
Q: What do store safety standards and prevention have to do with my slip-and-fall case?
Under the law, property owners/occupiers have an obligation to their visitors or patrons to make sure that the property is reasonably safe. The nature of this obligation is based on the reason for the injured person being on the property. Store and restaurant owners must ensure their safety by regularly checking the store for any potential hazards and by correcting them or warning guests of the danger.
- What should I do if I fell on a friend’s patio? I don’t want to sue her.
One of the responsibilities of home ownership is to obtain home insurance. It is required to protect your assets and should cover medical costs if someone falls on your property. A common misunderstanding with a slip and fall is that the property owner pays for your medical expenses. In fact, it is the home insurance company that you will pursue compensation from.
- I fell getting my driver’s license renewed. Is there anything special about public property?
Filing a claim against a government agency raises issues with governmental immunity. This is different than lawsuits filed against private parties. There are more complications. Talking to an experienced personal injury attorney is essential in these cases.
- What are common types of slip-and-fall accidents?
The most common reasons for slip-and-fall accidents include:
- Broken railings
- Wet and/or slippery floors
- Overcrowded aisles at stores
- Icy road or sidewalk surfaces, especially when black ice is present
- Uneven pavement or surfaces
- Torn carpets
- Cracks or holes in the floor or ground
- Exposed cables
- Insufficient lighting
- Sudden dips or rises in the height of pavement
- Cracked pavement
- Dirt, debris or other tripping hazards in a walking path
- What are the most common slip-and-fall accidents and their causes?
In the whole variety of types of falls, a few specific types of accidents and causes stand out, including:
- Trip-and-fall accidents where you encounter something unexpected in your path, like debris lying in a store aisle
- Stump-and-fall accidents where your foot is moving and encounters an impediment that prevents you from continuing your step, such as a piece of torn carpet or a sticky point on the floor
- Step-and-fall accidents where you step forward into something unexpected such as a dip in the pavement.
- Slip-and-fall accidents where your center of gravity is not properly supported as your foot lands on the floor
- Any type of slip and fall, trip and fall, stump and fall, or step and fall can be very dangerous. These are all classified as falls on the same level, as opposed to falls that occur when you topple from an elevation.
- Approximately 60 percent of all slip-and-fall injuries that lead to compensation are falls on the same level, according to the NFSI.
- What are the most typical slip-and-fall injuries?
Common types of slip-and-fall injuries include:
- Broken bones: Many people who experience a fall will break their wrist as a result of using their hands to brace themselves as they fall. However, a variety of different bones in the body could suffer breaks, depending on how you land.
- Hip fractures: Hip fractures are especially common — and especially devastating — among the elderly. Tragically, the NFSI indicates that a person aged 85 and over is between 10 and 15 times as likely as someone aged 60 to 65 to experience a hip fracture. NFSI also reports that half of all adults 65 and older who are hospitalized for a hip fracture are never able to live independently again.
- Knee injuries: A torn ACL or other knee injuries are all potential results of a slip-and-fall accident.
- Shoulder injuries: A torn rotator cuff is just one of several shoulder injuries that a person can experience as a result of a slip and fall.
- Brain injuries: Brain injuries can range from a concussion to a serious and long-lasting case of traumatic brain injury. TBI can cause memory lapses, mood changes, cognitive impairment, fatigue and other very serious health problems that you may never fully recover from.
- Neck injuries: Neck injuries can range from whiplash to a broken neck. Whiplash occurs when the neck is thrust forward and then backward too quickly and/or too far, damaging the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and joints) in the neck. A person may recover completely from whiplash or may have ongoing and painful symptoms.
- Back injuries: Back injuries can include a slipped or herniated disc, vertebrae damage, soft tissue damage or other issues. Back injuries often cause significant pain and can be difficult to treat.
- Spinal cord injuries: A complete spinal cord injury can cause total paralysis, while an incomplete spinal cord injury resulting from a slip and fall can cause partial paralysis below the affected area.
- How will hiring an attorney help me win my case?
To win your slip-and-fall case, you’ll need to establish what your status was. You’ll then need to prove that the property owner or occupier was more careless than they should have been. For example, you’ll need to show the store or property owner knew or should have known about the danger (had notice), had a chance to warn you or correct the problem, and failed to do so.
In order to recover compensation, it is also important that you show that you didn’t go into an obviously dangerous situation. If you did, you can be deprived of your right to make a claim.
Insurance companies know that proving the property owner had notice, and proving that the danger wasn’t open and obvious, can be difficult for injured fall victims, and they may be reluctant to offer a fair settlement. You may have to argue your case in court (where you’ll need to have solid evidence proving your case).
- What questions will a lawyer ask when I discuss my case?
- Did the landowner have “notice” of the dangerous condition? We need to prove that the landowner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to correct it.
- Was the dangerous condition “open and obvious”? The insurance company for the landowner will often try to claim that the dangerous condition was “open and obvious” and that you should have avoided the alleged dangerous condition.
Q: How Can You Maximize My Case Outcome?
We can help find engineers and other expert witnesses. We can also help subpoena maintenance records and otherwise gather evidence that the property owner should be liable. We will work to negotiate a settlement when a fair resolution is possible out of court, and we are always ready to go to trial to represent you. Call us at 859-261-1111 or toll-free at 888-811-3247, or request a free review with our easy contact email.