What Are Common Ways That Slip And Fall Accidents Occur?
From my 42 years of handling these kinds of cases, there are too many ways to name all of the ways a slip and fall injury can occur. You can have a slip and fall in the aisle of a grocery store, due to a spill or on the floor of a restaurant where the floor was mopped but no warning cones were placed to warn of a wet and slippery floor. Dangerously designed stairs. Loose handrails that come loose from a wall. Lifted sidewalks from tree roots. Objects placed low to the ground that creates tripping hazards. Poor choice of flooring materials that are slippery or become loose. I currently have a case in which my client walked into a restaurant and slipped and fell upon his first step inside. It had been raining. The employees had failed to put a mat inside the door, which was required when it was raining to prevent slips and falls. It was the store’s policy to do so. There’s a video of my client walking in the door, and the very instant he put his foot down inside the door, he went down on his knee and hands and sustained multiple fractures.
I’ve had cases where my clients tripped over the cover of a gas meter that did not close properly, or the cover of gas and water valves and meters in a sidewalk that had rotted over time. You can have slips and falls while descending exterior stairs that were painted with the wrong kind of coating that made them very slippery when wet or damp. These are just a few examples of slip and falls and trip and falls, but there are an infinite number of circumstances where people can be injured because of dangerous conditions of the property.
What Are Some Common Injuries Sustained In Slip And Fall Accidents?
Injuries in slip and fall or trip and fall cases are among the worst. Maybe small children can take a fall and get up and carry on as if nothing happened. They were created to be able to absorb such events. But adults are not so lucky. Common injuries are fractures of the feet, knees, ankles, elbows and hands. Skull fractures are also common when you slip and fall and hit your head. You can have fractures, disc herniations and torn ligaments in the neck or the back. You can have head injuries including concussions, brain injuries, severe sprains, subdural hematomas, which is bleeding in the brain, vertigo and tinnitus. You can have scarring. You can require knee replacement surgery, shoulder replacement surgery, spinal fusions. Falls can cause chronic headaches, memory loss, vertigo and extreme sensitivity to light. The common denominator for all of these injuries is pain, disability and significant alterations in one’s life.
There are an infinite number of ways that you can become injured. Some of these injuries heal with time, with minimal care. Some require surgery. Some don’t heal at all. Some become painful, permanent reminders of a sudden, unexpected, and unplanned event that will change a person’s life forever.
What Steps Should I Take If I Have Been Injured In A Slip And Fall Accident?
Step one, always get medical care for any injury as soon as possible. Call an ambulance. Call for help. Get to somewhere safe where you can rest and tend to your injuries. You need to take care of yourself. As far as a case is concerned, you need to gather documentation if you can do it. Ask someone to help you with it. Take measurements of the dangerous condition if it’s a lifted sidewalk. Take photographs of the condition as soon as possible. Pictures should be close up and farther away to get the dangerous condition into a wider context. If there was water or some sort of slippery substance on the floor that caused your fall, try to determine what the substance is. How much of it was on the floor? Is there any way to determine how long it had been there?
You may not have seen when a substance was spilled on the floor or who spilled it. I had a slip and fall case in which a drugstore stocker used a sharp knife to open the box of a dish soap product and nicked on the plastic bottle. It was only a tiny nick. Over time, that tiny nick in one bottle of soap leaked that eventually spilled out from the shelf onto the floor. My client came along and slipped in it. How did we establish liability? By proving it was the store’s fault for using improper methods and tools to open boxes. If there’s a puddle on the floor in an aisle, look for its source. Sometimes you will see tracks through it or wheel marks from shopping carts, and you can see that it had been there quite a while because the substance had been tracked around. Ask for store video surveillance recordings. They can be quite revealing in showing how and when the dangerous substance came to be on the floor.
In another case of a slip and fall in a grocery store, the store claimed they were not responsible because they had no notice of the spill and that their employees are “constantly” looking for dangerous conditions which they clean up to as soon as they are seen. When we finally got the surveillance recordings, we saw that a store employee walked right past the spill on the floor 30 seconds before our client came along and slipped in it. So much for the denial of fault in that case.
You want to report the incident immediately when you have a slip and fall. The longer you wait to report the incident, the more suspicious a defendant or the insurance company will become. I’ve had clients slip and fall in a store and they were too embarrassed about having fallen and believed that they weren’t injured badly enough and did not want to make a big deal out of it. They’d get up and leave the store only to wind up in the emergency room later that day with severe pain and injuries. However, they did not take the time to report it when it happened. By the time they get back to the store and tell the manager or an employee, it became a much more difficult case. Even if you have minor injuries, you need to report it. You need to point out what caused you to fall so that they can identify it, document it, and clean it up. If for no other reason, to help prevent some other unaware individual from falling. If there’s a dangerous condition, you don’t want somebody else falling or slipping in it. You also want to get the names of witnesses that saw you fall or helped you up, get the names of employees that helped you. All of those immediate steps after a slip and fall are very important.
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