Slip and fall cases each have their own distinctive characteristics and present their own challenges. While those who fall sometimes recover quickly, others, especially older people, may suffer life-threatening conditions as a result of the impact.
When someone else’s negligence leads to a fall, the victim or their family may have a legal case against the liable party.
How Slips, Trips, and Falls Happen
Slips and trips can lead to serious falls. Slips and trips both occur when a person loses balance suddenly. They may slip when they lose their footing on a slippery or wet surface, or trip over an object in their path or a sudden drop in the level of the floor.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), slips, trips, and falls can happen in the workplace, due to:
- Human factors
- Slippery surfaces
- Housekeeping issues
- Poor lighting
- Faulty ladders
- Faulty stairs
Even weather conditions can lead to a fall while on the clock.
Falls on Public and Private Property
While slips, trips, and falls do occur commonly in the workplace, they also take place on private property and in public places. In these cases, preventable hazards typically contribute to the event that causes injury. These hazards may include:
- Uneven flooring
- Wet floors due to rain or snow
- Ice on outdoor stairs and walkways
- Missing handrails
- Broken stairs
Falls in Nursing Homes
Individuals of all ages suffer injuries from falls, but the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that older adults aged 65 and over experience more fatal falls than any other age group due to physical and cognitive issues associated with advanced age. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), over 1.5 million people fall in nursing homes each year despite the precautions staff can take to prevent falls and their subsequent injuries. Preventable risk factors in nursing homes may include:
- Poor lighting
- Cluttered pathways
- Unstable furniture
- Wet floors
- Damaged wheelchairs
- Ill-fitting clothing
According to the Journal of Injury and Violence Research, even a rug can cause a serious slip and fall incident for elderly adults, which can lead to grave health consequences.
Regardless of where the incident occurred, an attorney can help fall victims who suffered injuries as the result of someone else’s negligence determine if they have a case and seek financial awards for their damages.
Understanding the Difficulty of a Slip and Fall Case
While liability in a slip and fall case may seem obvious to the victim, the court requires that they prove several criteria to establish that the person or party responsible did, in fact, cause the fall that led to the victim’s injuries.
For some victims, this may make slip and fall cases difficult to approach on their own. In order to file a claim for premises liability, in which an individual can hold someone accountable for injuries that occurred on their property, they must first prove that the owner, employee, or other associated personnel is responsible for property maintenance and failed to provide adequate protections:
- Caused or created the hazard
- Knew of the hazard and did nothing about it
- Had adequate time to discover and fix the hazard and failed to resolve it
Property owners and those they employ have a responsibility to ensure reasonably safe conditions for their guests and patrons. If they fail to do so, they may face legal repercussions.
Financial Awards in a Slip and Fall Case
Because of the diverse nature of slip and fall cases, the types of financial recovery a victim may seek depends on the details of their case. However, potential awards may include recovery for:
- Emergency medical care and ongoing healthcare expenses related to the fall
- Loss of wages due to inability to work or loss of future wages if the victim suffers a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering or mental anguish for the trauma associated with the fall and injury
- Funeral and burial expenses if the victim suffered fatal injuries in the fall
- Loss of consortium for spouses of fall victims who do not survive their injuries
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Preventable falls occur each year, and the potential difficulty of slip and fall cases may prevent victims and their families from pursuing their claims. They do not have to do it alone, though. They have a right to legal representation.
The attorneys at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC, can help them seek accountability and pursue financial awards. If you or a loved one experienced a fall that led to severe or fatal injuries, contact us today at (713) 850-8600 to discuss your case evaluation with our legal team.