People can fall almost anywhere, including at home, at work, at a friend’s home, at a store, or church. Slipping or tripping and falling can result in serious injuries. Elderly adults are especially at risk of being injured in slip-and-fall accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three million elderly adults have to visit the emergency department each year for the treatment of injuries from falls. More than 800,000 people in the U.S. are admitted to hospitals in the U.S. for fall injuries every year. While some falls result in bruises and bumps, others can cause fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or fatalities. When falls result because of the negligence of a property owner or possessor, the injured victim may have a right to recover damages. An experienced lawyer at DiCindio Law can evaluate claims and explain whether they have legal merits.
Most slip-and-fall accidents can be prevented. By understanding what can cause these types of accidents to occur, people can take steps to prevent them. We have detailed the leading causes of slip-and-fall claims below.
Wet or uneven floor or ground surfaces
A majority of slip-and-fall accidents are caused by surfaces that are wet or uneven. The following types of floor or surface conditions commonly lead to accidents:
- Debris or clutter on floors
- Loosened floorboards
- Potholes in parking lots
- Defects in sidewalks
- Defective or broken staircases
- Torn carpets
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
- Loose mats
These types of hazards are common in commercial, residential, public, and industrial spaces, which is why they cause so many accidents. It is everyone’s responsibility to correct these types of conditions on their properties to protect their customers, guests, or employees. People should regularly inspect their properties to ensure that their surfaces are cleared and safe. If a business identifies a problem, it should post a warning sign and promptly fix it.
Inclement weather conditions can result in many slip-and-fall accidents. While no one can control the weather, businesses and people can practice safety during poor conditions. Property owners and cities should do things like shovel sidewalks, salt walkways, and steps, and plow the streets. Businesses should promptly clean up ice and snow that people track into their premises. Failing to clear away accumulated ice and snow can result in liability when people slip and fall.
Many slip-and-fall accidents happen at work. The construction industry poses special risks for fall accidents. Many work-related slip-and-fall accidents are caused because of inadequate training or a lack of safety culture. Every worker who works in the construction industry or other industries with heightened fall risks should be trained to use safety equipment to prevent falls. Businesses and supervisors should also have safety policies in place and work to enforce them. Failing to properly train workers about safe practices can result in falls, serious injuries, and fatalities.
Nursing home negligence
Families sometimes have to place their loved ones in nursing homes so that they can receive the level of care that they need. Unfortunately, one of the top causes of slip-and-fall injuries is nursing home negligence. Older adults have mobility and balance issues that leave them at an increased risk of falling. They are also more fragile and likelier to suffer serious injuries when they fall. The CDC reports that more than 25% of older adults fall every year. When elderly adults slip and fall, they are likelier to suffer fractures. Nursing homes are frequently short-staffed, meaning that the residents may not have adequate supervision when they walk around the premises. When a nursing home resident slips and falls and is injured because of a lack of proper supervision, the facility may be liable to pay damages.
Many slip-and-fall accidents are caused by improper footwear. Shoes that do not offer the proper traction can result in people slipping on surfaces and falling. For example, wearing stiletto heels on freshly waxed floors can lead to an accident. Boots, sneakers, and other shoes can also cause people to fall if they do not provide good traction for the surfaces on which people are walking.
While fraudulent claims are rare, some people try to stage falls to seek damages. For example, a person might try to spill liquid in a store and then slip in it to stage the scene. Others might have suffered injuries at home and then stage a fall at work to try to recover compensation. People who attempt to file fraudulent slip-and-fall claims are frequently discovered and may face penalties for attempting to defraud insurance companies or the courts.
Most slip-and-fall accidents can be prevented with proper attention and care. Businesses should have regular inspections scheduled throughout each day to check all of the store’s areas and to correct any hazards that are found. People who plan to invite guests to their homes should make certain that their floors are cleared of clutter and debris and that everything is in good working order. Customers and workers should make certain that they pay attention to their surroundings to avoid dangers that could cause them to fall. Finally, nursing homes should make certain that their residents are properly monitored and supervised to prevent them from falling. Many of these steps cost very little, and they can go along way to prevent people from being seriously injured or killed in fall accidents.
Get help from an experienced attorney at DiCindio Law
If you have been injured in a fall while you were on the premises of someone else, you may have legal rights to recover damages if the property owner was negligent. An experienced attorney at DiCindio Law can evaluate your claim and explain whether you might be entitled to recover compensation for your losses. Contact us today by filling out our contact form or calling us at 610.430.3535.