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Slip and Fall Injuries Overview

According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits a year, the leading cause of E.R. visits. In this article, we provide an overview of slip and fall injuries including common types and causes, what you should do after a slip and fall injury, and the kind of compensation you may be able to recover if you are able to prove somebody else was at fault for your fall. 

Types of Slip and Fall Injuries

Slip and fall injuries are a general category comprising several types of more specific injuries. Among these are the following.

  • Broken bones - Hip, wrist, and ankle fractures are some of the most common types of broken bones resulting from slip and fall injuries. The older you are, the more likely you are to break a bone from a fall. 
  • Soft tissue injuries - Soft injuries can range from minor wrist and ankle sprains to more severe tears in tendons and ligaments. If left untreated, soft tissue injuries can leave you more vulnerable to injuries in the future.
  • Traumatic brain injuries - Also called TBIs, traumatic brain injuries range from small concussions, bumps, and bruises to much more serious injuries like skull fractures, hematomas, and subarachnoid hemorrhage which can have significant long-term repercussions.
  • Cuts and abrasions - Cuts and abrasions are usually one of the less serious types of injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents, as they are only superficial.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries - Injuries such as fractured vertebrae, slipped or herniated discs, and spinal cord injuries can cause significant pain, limited mobility, and at worst, paralysis. 

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries

Although slip and fall injuries can happen at random with seemingly no cause, there are a number of conditions that can make them more likely. If a property owner does not take any action to repair or warn others about the following conditions, they may be more likely to be held liable for slip and fall injuries caused by them.  

  • Exposed electrical wiring
  • Poorly placed fixtures
  • Spilled food or drink
  • Worn carpet
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Holes in flooring
  • Debris on floors
  • Lack of handrails
  • Wet flooring
  • Uneven stairs
  • Cracked pavement
  • Broken floor tiles
  • Uneven flooring

Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Injury

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident and aren’t sure how to proceed, it is recommended that you follow these steps. 

1. Seek Medical Treatment

Your first priority when having a slip and fall injury should be to seek medical treatment. Having proper health care for your injury will help you heal as quickly as possible, and your medical records will serve as an important piece of evidence if you choose to make a personal injury claim. 

2. Report the Accident

Wherever your slip and fall accident happens, it’s important to report it to the store manager, property owner, or landlord. Ask them for a copy of a report detailing the incident in writing. 

3. Document Everything

Additionally, you’ll want to obtain documentation of everything related to your accident. This can include:

  • Contact information of potential witnesses
  • Witness statements
  • Photos of the exact location of the accident and any causes that contributed to it
  • Detailed notes about what happened during the accident, including the day and time

4. Call a Personal Injury Attorney

Yoir next step will be to get in contact with a personal injury attorney who will be able to help you through the process of taking legal action if you choose to. Having an experienced lawyer on your side is the best way to increase your chances of getting fair compensation for your losses. 

Types of Damages You Can Claim in a Slip and Fall Injury

There are a number of both financial and non-financial losses that you may be eligible to receive comepnsation for in a slip and fall injury lawsuit. These include:

  • Medication costs
  • Physical therapy costs
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering, including all emotional anguish resulting from the injury
  • Medical bills
  • Personal support workers or attendant care

Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Injury

One of the most challenging things you will have to do as part of a slip and fall lawsuit is proving that the defendant was truly at fault for your injury. 

In order for the owner of the property where you fell to be held legally liable for your injuries, at least one of the following conditons must be true:

  • The owner of the premises or an employee caused the hazard that led to your fall 
  • The owner of the premises or an employee knew of the hazard but did nothing about it
  • The owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the hazard because a "reasonable" person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it

The third condition is the most common, but also the most difficult to prove because the idea of what a reasonable person would do in any given scenario is subjective. There are several factors that could play into a jury’s decision about reasonable behavior, including:

  • How long the hazard had been there
  • Whether or not the property owner performed regular maintenance
  • The nature of the hazard
  • Whether or not a hazard warning was given

The nuance of liability is why many slip and fall cases can become complicated and it is highly recommended to retain a lawyer to help you with your claim.

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