You don’t usually hear about slip-and-fall accidents on the news the way you might hear about a car accident, but slip-and-falls are surprisingly common. They account for more than a million emergency room visits a year, or about 12 percent of fall injuries.
Unfortunately, one of the most common injuries in this type of accident is one or more broken bones, which can take weeks or months to heal. Back and spine injuries, head injuries, sprains, strains, and soft tissue injuries can also result from a fall.
How Can a Summit County Slip-and-Fall Attorney Help With Your Case?
A slip-and-fall injury like a broken bone can be expensive to treat and keep you out of work for months. If you’re dealing with a slip-and-fall injury, you may struggle to pay your bills and get the medical care you need while dealing with physical and emotional pain.
Filing a claim against the liable party’s insurance should be a simple task, but unfortunately, it can be very challenging – especially when the property owner claims you were at fault.
In order to seek compensation, it’s necessary to provide evidence that:
- You had permission to be on the property where the slip-and-fall happened – in other words, you were not trespassing. Legally, property owners have very few responsibilities toward people who are not authorized to be present on the property. If you were in a venue open to the public, this might mean that you have to show you were not in a restricted area (like one with a sign that says “Employees Only”).
- A dangerous condition on the property caused your injury. In a slip-and-fall case, this would be the reason you slipped – a puddle, a bump in the floor, etc. Many people tell us they have no idea why they slipped, so we may assign our investigative team to visit the site and look for potential hazards.
- The property owner or manager knew the dangerous condition, or they should have known about it, but they failed to take action. Our investigators often chat with store employees, other visitors, or anyone who might have witnessed your slip-and-fall accident. Sometimes we learn that the owner knew about a problem with a floor tile or leaking roof but didn’t take any steps to protect guests from harm – like replacing the tile or putting out a Caution sign.
As you can see, there are issues at each step that require assistance from an experienced Summit County slip-and-fall lawyer. We will work to gather evidence of the other party’s liability, then fight to secure the compensation you need for your recovery.
What Damages Are Available in a Slip-and-Fall Case?
This is another area where a knowledgeable Summit County slip-and-fall attorney can help.
Many people injured in a slip-and-fall situation don’t realize all the damages they may have. It’s easy to focus on your current medical bills, as they could be very pressing – you might even be getting calls from the hospital, threatening to put you into collections.
But what about your future medical care? What about other damages?
Here are some of the damages your attorney will ask you about to ensure you receive a fair amount of compensation:
- Medical costs: This includes current and future expenses. If you are still in treatment, your lawyer may wait to settle the case until you have finished treatment. But if you need continued care for a long-term issue, your attorney can estimate your future medical costs to ensure these are also covered. They will also inquire about related costs like travel expenses to see a specialist or equipment for PT exercises in your home.
- Lost income: Your lawyer will help you review your employer’s records of the time you missed at work due to your injuries. Some people don’t think their time off counts if they had paid time off, but you still had to use that PTO for your slip-and-fall injury, so it does.
- Lost earning potential: If your injury caused a permanent disability that prevents you from working or doing the same work you did before, we may seek compensation for your lost earning potential.
- Any permanent disability or disfigurement:
- Pain and suffering: This covers both physical pain and emotional or mental distress due to your injuries.
- Wrongful death: Although uncommon, in rare cases, slip-and-fall injuries can be fatal. If you lost a loved one to a slip-and-fall injury, you can seek damages, including funeral expenses, final medical bills related to the fall, lost financial support, and loss of consortium and companionship.
Where Do Slip-and-Fall Accidents Happen?
Virtually any flat surface you might walk on could be the site of a slip-and-fall. Many people fall at home, but slip-and-fall cases are the most frequent cause of lost days from work and the most common reason for worker’s compensation claims.
These accidents also occur in stores and other public places.
What Causes Slip-and-Fall Accidents?
There are a number of causes for slip-and-fall accidents, and many are preventable. Here are some of the most prevalent reasons:
This may seem obvious, but it’s a big problem. If the property owner doesn’t act promptly to clean up a spill or at least warn others of the hazard, a guest or visitor could slip and injure themselves.
In stores or other public venues, spilled drinks are a common but potentially dangerous sight. Store management usually has policies that employees must report spills or leaks immediately so they can be cleaned, but if this doesn’t happen, an unsuspecting customer could get hurt.
Uneven Flooring or Loose Tiles
Sometimes the issue isn’t a temporary problem like a wet floor but a more permanent issue with the floorboards or tiles. A loose floorboard or tile or a floor that’s uneven for any reason is as much a hazard as a spilled drink.
In some cases, it may be even more dangerous if it’s hard to see the flaw. The property owner has a responsibility to fix flooring issues or place a sign to warn guests of “uneven flooring.”
Slip-and-fall injuries don’t just happen indoors. We’ve seen cases where the injured person slipped on a patio, in a backyard, in a parking lot, etc.
Businesses with parking lots should keep these lots relatively clear, including putting down rock salt to reduce slipping hazards in winter weather.
If the business owner or manager is aware of snow or ice in the parking lot or near the entryway of the business and doesn’t take action to clear it, they may be negligent.
In some cases, there are local ordinances regarding snow and ice removal. In Breckenridge, for example, property owners are responsible for removing snow and ice from the sidewalk adjacent to their property.
Lack of Workplace Training
This is often an issue in workplace slip-and-fall accidents.
Depending on the nature of the work, employees may need instruction on how to prevent slip-and-fall hazards, such as how often to clean and dry the floor, special shoes to wear if the floor is consistently wet, how to prevent leaks or liquid dripping on the floor, etc.
If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident at work, you would need to file a worker’s compensation claim. A slip-and-fall lawyer can help ensure your worker’s comp claim is filled out and filed correctly and can assist you in fighting a claim denial if necessary.
Nursing Home or Hospital Negligence
Many older adults have difficulty with balance, coordination, or movement, and this could also be true for younger patients with certain conditions like vertigo or neurological issues. As a result, hospitals and nursing homes have protocols to keep patients safe.
Those at high risk of a fall should receive assistance, such as an aide helping them up when they need to walk somewhere.
Staff should also check to ensure nursing home patients wear non-slip socks, have mobility aids appropriate for their condition, monitor patients at high risk, and take other steps to reduce the odds of a fall.
If a patient suffers a fall in a hospital or nursing home, the facility or its staff members may have been negligent.
Wearing shoes that are inappropriate for the environment can increase your risk of slipping and falling. This is why many workplaces have rules about the type of shoes employees can wear.
In public venues, guests should try to exercise sound judgment.
For instance, you wouldn’t want to wear high heels to the local swimming pool in the summer. In other situations, shoes that are too big or fit poorly can also contribute to fall risk.
Contact a Summit County Slip-and-Fall Law Firm Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, please contact Olson Law for a free consultation. We’ll review your case, answer your questions, and go over your options for pursuing compensation.
Attorney Sean Olson meets with every client personally and makes himself available if you have questions or concerns, so call us today at (303) 586-7297.