If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip-and-fall-type injury, there are some things that you need to know in order to be compensated for the damages you have suffered.
Accidents on other people’s property happen, and injuries are often the result, but when someone else’s negligence is a factor, you may wonder about your legal rights. Tort law and personal injury are complicated topics with a simple aim, make those who are responsible pay for the injury they caused an unsuspecting other.
As you enter the law space and read about slip-and-fall-type claims, you may be confused by all the legal-speak or similar-sounding terms that are necessary but still hard to understand.
This post will clarify what a slip-and-fall is, the different types, what you should do when the unexpected happens, and how to proceed with collecting proof, so you are not stuck with a debt you do not owe.
Slip, Trip and Fall Claims, Explained
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can happen everywhere. The effects can vary, causing anything from minor marks and bruises to severe spinal cord and head injuries.
Here are the reasons why slip and fall accidents can happen:
Wet and Uneven Floors
- Uneven pavement, flooring and surfaces without warning signs
- Loose flooring, mats or rugs
- Recently polished or waxed floors
- Not using proper barriers to restrict access to areas of wet flooring
- Unsalted icy surfaces
- Spills that are not cleaned up
- Potholes in public parking lots
Environmental conditions can also lead to slip and fall types of accidents. More often than not, slip and fall hazards include:
- Trash or debris on the floor
- The cord running across a walkway
- Inadequate lighting makes it hard for a person to see hazards
- Open drawers and cabinets
Unsafe Stairs and Ladders
Unsafe stairs can easily lead to slip and fall accidents. Dangerous situations may include:
- Lack of handrails
- Rushing while taking the stairs
- Warped or worn steps
- Debris and trash on stairs
- Polished or waxed stairs without non-skid surfaces
Improper Safety Practices
Employees in some professions are at risk of slip and fall accidents if just safety practices are missing in the workplace:
- Construction industry workers
- Manual laborers
- Custodial staff, including housekeepers
- Kitchen staff
- Factory employees
According to UKLaw.co.uk, accidents in which an individual either slips or trips while walking result in nearly 9 million hospital emergency room visits per year. While it’s easy to assume these accidents only result in minor injuries like scraping or bruising, more severe injuries can occur due to the way the human body falls and the unexpended nature of the accident. More often than not, it is the swiftness of the incident that allows so much room for injury since the body has little time to respond.
Proving Negligence & Liability
After being involved in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be wondering how the personal injury process does and what will be expected of you.
The first step in a personal injury case is hiring a reliable lawyer. Most people fear hiring a personal lawyer because of the high fees that are normally associated with working with a professional lawyer. However, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they will handle all of your upfront court taxes and that victims don’t pay unless their legal representative wins their case for them.
Once you’ve chosen the legal defendant you want to work with, the case will start with both sides bringing evidence by interviewing witnesses exchanging information and collecting evidence.
In slip and trip types of accidents, the property owner may argue that the accuser is partially (or totally) accountable for the accident that led to the injuries. The argument will be made under a legal concept referred to as “comparative fault”, and states have codified the concept in “contributory negligence: and “comparative negligence” laws. These rules, however, will affect the accuser’s ability to recover compensation if they’re found to share some blame for the accident.
Collecting Evidence of Slip and Fall Accident
Naturally, accidents like slip-and-falls are unexpected events. And although it’s a simple occurrence, there are some things you can do after the event to ensure that you’re eligible for a personal injury claim. That said, even if you don’t feel injured or do not notice any severe complications right away, it’s likely that days or even weeks after the occurrence, you being to have problems that arise slowly. That’s one good reason to:
If possible, after the accident, take pictures to document the circumstances in which your injury took place. Use your smartphone to film and take pictures of any spills, objects or items that might have contributed to the fall. If you’re not able or simply too injured, ask someone to take them as soon as possible.
Collect Witness Information
If someone witnessed your fall, make sure you ask for their name and contact information in case you need to check what they saw later. An eyewitness is crucial to your claim by validating the story.
Seek Medical Attention
After your fall, it’s crucial that you visit a hospital or a medical professional as soon as possible. The longer you wait for the medical examination, the more difficult it will be to prove that any physical damages occurred as a direct result of the fall. If possible, take notes of the symptoms you experience and any complaints of injuries you may have. Because some injuries will take time to show up, being examined right away will help you detect unseen problems, as well as prevent worsening complications.
To better understand the legal issues in personal injury claims and improve your odds of winnings, make sure you research the basics of premises liability and slip and fall accidents. Also, if you’re ready to discuss your situation with a legal professional, take your time to find a reliable personal injury attorney for you and your case.