Slip and fall is a concept that pertains to a type of personal injury case, which is essentially a slip or trip accident that happens on another individual’s property. Under the law, these cases fall under a broad category of premises liability cases. When it comes to claims, however, victims must prove that the slip and fall accident did occur on the property or premises owned by another person. Here, the person in question can be legally held accountable for the accident.
If you are someone who has sustained any kind of injury due to a slip and fall incident, understand that you have the means to collect compensation, no matter how minor the accident.
To learn more about slip and fall accidents, we talk about the common causes, injuries, and ways you can win a claim. Here’s a comprehensive guide to follow:
What are the common causes of slip and fall accidents?
Uneven or wet surfaces
These areas are the most common cause of slip and fall accidents, be it uneven sidewalks, wet floorboards, and other surfaces. Here is a list of all possibly hazardous areas, which can help solidify and validate your case:
- Cluttered floors
- Poorly made staircases
- Potholes (Sidewalks, roads, parking lots)
- Worn out carpet floors
- Loose floorboards
- Freshly-mopped surfaces without warning signs
- Freshly-waxed floors without warning signs
- Moist or condensed floors
Poor staff training
When it comes to highly dangerous zones, such as construction sites, poor staff training is the usual cause of slip and fall accidents. Employees and managers must go through rigorous training, so as to avoid accidents on duty. Certain guidelines must readily be available, especially when it comes to proper walking on the sites, proper handling of tools and equipment, and other necessary precautions. Should employers fail to adequately provide training, they can be held liable for every single damage.
Although the weather is a naturally occurring event, certain conditions make walking surfaces hazardous. The winter and rainy season, in particular, cause countless injuries and death, so people are expected to proceed with caution. However, establishment owners hold a legal responsibility for their properties. The responsibilities of establishment owners include the following:
- Shoveling and plowing the streets
- Salting walkways during winter
- Continuously mopping wet floors during the rainy season
- Providing mops and mats to control water on surfaces
Failure to take these precautions will hold them liable for injuries, as weather-caused negligence can be a strong case.
Unkempt electrical wires and other stray cords
Cleanliness is key when it comes to public places, but certain areas fail to keep other items in check. Electrical wires and cords, for example, also cause slip and fall accidents all over the world. These unkempt wires hook around the shoes or ankle, which then causes the slip and fall. Most people experience such instances due to being unable to see while walking, which is why public areas need to be as clean as possible.
Unmaintained or damaged handrails
Public spaces are designed for maximum inclusivity and convenience, which is why handrails exist alongside pavements and staircases. These are fixed on the walls and posts, supporting people as they travel by walking. Most people experience accidents in the bathroom, however, especially the elderly and handicapped. Unfortunately, most people suffer from slip and fall accidents due to broken handrails.
Poor presence of lighting
Uneven floors and lack of support are one thing, but people fail to take into consideration poor lighting systems. This causes slipping and falling accidents, especially when it comes to old workplace buildings and public areas. In other words, owners are legally responsible for ensuring that every corner is well lit, which aids vision, especially at night. Owners need to illuminate staircases, sidewalks, and walkways, as any less will cause an individual to fall into an accident.
Hospital and nursing home neglect
This cause may perhaps be a niche topic, but various slip and fall cases happen in nursing homes and hospitals. These areas are home to vulnerable elderly and sick individuals, most of them left alone. Bear in mind that the aging and sick have a reduced sense of balance, leaving them at risk for a variety of accidents.
Given this common knowledge, hospitals and nursing homes can be held liable, especially since most accidents can exacerbate their existing conditions and threaten their lives. The responsibility of total care falls on nurses and other caregivers, as they need to assist and monitor every single movement inside the hospital or nursing home.
What are the common injuries obtained after a slip and fall?
Slip and fall accidents can cause you various degrees of injuries, ranging from minor to life-threatening. Here are some of the most common you need to watch out for:
Head injuries (Traumatic brain injury)
Who’s most at risk: The young and the elderly
Slip and falls cause traumatic brain injury or TBI, which can range from minor concussions to severe brain damage. Such extensive damages can lead to mood changes, seizures, cognitive disasters, and other detrimental symptoms. Victims of head injuries require immediate medical assistance, prompting them to seek costly emergency room treatments, hospitalization, and expensive tests.
Back and spinal cord injuries
Who’s most at risk: Anyone, depending on the extent of damages
Most broken hips happen as a result of slip and fall, which happens due to damaging impacts on surfaces. Such falls can cause extensive damage to the vertebrae, causing the individual to develop herniated discs. As a result, the victim will be left in extreme pain and limited movements. More often than not, spinal injuries lead to permanent paralysis, on top of sensory lapses and neurologic damages.
Who’s most at risk: The elderly
Hips can be rather difficult to fracture, so most people who suffer from hip dislocations are the elderly. Such injuries necessitate surgery and extensive hospitalization recovery, to be followed by non-negotiable rehabilitation recovery plans to gain control over movements once more. Most individuals will need an artificial hip replacement, where the risks of complications and infections are high. Victims of hip fractures eventually succumb to the complications, making it one of the most difficult injuries to treat.
Sprains and fractures
Who’s most at risk: Anyone, depending on the extent of damages
Instances of slips, trips, and falls will cause individuals to twist their limbs, causing fractures and sprains. Bear in mind that connective ligaments are highly susceptible to damage, especially since they are mere tissues that can bend and tear. The impact of landing on hard surfaces or hitting other hard objects are common causes, but serious fractures are often experienced by the elderly. Bones weaken as we age, making such accidents more dangerous to them. Here are some areas where fractures are common:
- Upper harm
Who can be held liable for my slip and fall injuries?
As previously mentioned, you have all the liberty to gain compensation for the injuries you likely have sustained from the accidents. To recover well and find people to cover the costs of your recovery plans, you will need to identify the negligent party. Most people fall into accidents due to their own carelessness, but if you believe that your injuries are the results of other people’s actions, here are some people you can seek out:
Commercial property owners
If you believe that a commercial property owner has been negligent and have caused your slip and fall injury, they must meet the following facts:
- People under them have caused the spill that contributed to a slippery surface
- Worn or torn spots have been duly ignored, which has later caused an accident
- They are aware of dangerous surfaces but chose to ignore repair need and maintenance needs
- The common sense case: “They should have known”, which pertains to a liability case that investigates a property owner’s willingness to keep their property safe for customers
Remember: When it comes to slip and fall cases regarding commercial property owners, bear in mind that several people will likely be held accountable for the slip and fall injury.
Residential property owners
Residential property owners essentially pertain to landlords, and they can be held liable for any accidents that have occurred on their rental properties. Victims can include the tenant or third parties, so long as the accident has taken place in their rental. If you believe that your landlord should be liable for your accident, they must meet the following facts:
- The landlord has neglected to repair or maintain the damaged area of the property, resulting in the accident
- The landlord knows that the repair costs are not unreasonable nor particularly difficult to accomplish
- Any slip and fall accident may have been prevented should they have chosen to do the repairs
- The landlord has failed to make sound and reasonable steps to ensure their rentals remain safe and sound, thereby holding them accountable for the accident
Should your slip and fall injury occur on government-owned properties, be it local, state, or federal, understand that special rules will apply. You’ll be dealing with strict notice requirements and other immunity provisions, which keeps government bodies safe from liabilities. For this reason, you’ll need the help of a professional slip and fall lawyer.
How can I prove negligence in my slip and fall case?
When it comes to making claims and winning your case, you will need to gather evidence as quickly as possible. You also need to make sure to preserve these pieces of evidence properly, as you will need to prove the following issues:
- The liability or fault of the property owner
- Caution or the accident that has caused your slip and fall injury
- Damages or the extent of your injuries
If you wish to build a strong case for your slip and fall injury, you need to have the evidence. Unfortunately, such pieces of evidence can disappear quickly. A wet floor can be mopped dry, tangled cables can be untangled. Potholes can be fixed and broken handrails can easily be repaired.
Bear in mind that the responsible parties do not have a legal duty to preserve evidence, especially when it comes to video recordings around the establishment. The key here is to act as quickly as possible, ensuring that they know that a lawsuit is coming. In doing so, you hold them compelled to preserve evidence for you.
To help you gather proper evidence of negligence for your slip and fall case, here is a list of items you need to gather:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Surveillance camera footages
- Shoes and clothing items you have worn during the accident
- A written record or affidavit of the accident, ensuring that you include all the possible details
- A journal containing your injuries, hospitalization, medications, costs, limitations, emotional distress, mental changes, pain levels, and essentially the aftermath of your accident
- Medical documents detailing your injuries, medical bills, pay stubs of lost wages
- Witness accounts, be it oral or written
Remember: The more evidence you can show in court, the better your chances will be. You need to show that the slip and fall have altered your life for the worse, causing your life to plummet for the worse. You need to establish the distress and pain the accident has caused, in all aspects of your life—physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. In doing so, you increase your chances of obtaining fair compensation.
Seeking the Help of a Florida Slip and Fall Lawyer
Slip and fall accidents can be difficult to prove, but the extent of injuries can be life-altering in the worst possible ways. Regardless of the cause of the injury you have sustained, it is within your rights to file a case against the people responsible, especially because your accident has been caused by negligence. If you prove your case, you will be entitled to compensation for your income loss, medical bills, and of course, your pain and suffering.
If you’re on the hunt for professional help, the experienced slip and fall lawyers of Shiner Law Group are ready to help. As passionate lawyers, we’ll help you obtain the justice you deserve. Negligence is not something to be taken lightly, so allow us to ease the pain and suffering. Book a free consultation with us today—we are available 24/7 for all your needs.