When you hear “slip and fall,” you may not immediately think of a serious injury. However, slip and fall accidents are extremely common and are responsible for the most missed days of work and worker’s compensation claims. Additionally, slip and falls are the top occupational injury for workers over 55 years old and present heightened risks to elderly individuals. One in three elderly individuals over the age of 65 falls every year, and half of those will fall several times.
Falls account for over 8 million emergency room visits in the United States every year, and of those, over one million are from slip and fall incidents. Half of all the accidental deaths that take place in the home are from falls, and most falls happen at ground level. As individuals age, the risk of suffering a falling injury statistically increases.
Liability for Slip and Falls
In some situations, one person’s negligence can cause someone else to suffer a slip and fall accident. In most cases, any lawsuit that results will typically fall under the purview of premises liability law. Premises liability laws exist to ensure property owners take adequate care to ensure their premises do not pose an undue risk of injury on lawfully present visitors to the property.
Property owners must ensure that visitors are made fully aware of any dangerous areas on the premises and take reasonable precautions to prevent any injuries. It’s important to make the distinction between lawful visitors and trespassers. Property owners have a duty of care to visitors who are present for social or business purposes. They do not have any obligation to safeguard trespassers from injury, with the exception of child trespassers.
Children are not expected to exercise the same level of judgment as adults, so if a property owner could reasonably foresee a child wandering onto his or her property, the property owner must take steps to ensure there are no hazards that could injure the interloping child.
Common causes of slip and fall injuries that result in premises liability lawsuits include:
- Property owner’s failure to reasonably clear away ice and snow accumulation from walking paths
- Property owner’s failure to mark falling hazards, such as broken stairways or holes in upper floors
- Failing to warn visitors about a known safety issue
- Cluttered walking paths – especially stairwells
If a lawful visitor to the property suffers an injury that could have been prevented with proper care, or the property owner did not warn the visitor about a known safety hazard, the injured party may choose to sue the property owner for the resulting injuries and damages.
Elderly people are some of the most affected by slip and fall accidents, and a large number of serious falling injuries occur in assisted living or nursing home environments. If the staff at such a facility fails to accommodate a patient’s falling risk, the injured patient could sue the facility for their damages.
Compensation for a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
If your slip and fall accident leads to a lawsuit, it will more than likely fall under the purview of premises liability law or personal injury law. In either case, you will need to establish that the defending property owner or other defendant was negligent in some way. This means you and your attorney must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care to prevent a slip and fall, the defendant failed to fulfill this duty in some way, and that the failure directly resulted in your injuries.
After a slip and fall, the first thing victims should do is seek medical attention. In most cases, victims feel the effects of falls immediately. However, sometimes internal wounds do not immediately manifest symptoms. Seeing a doctor is a wise idea so you can have your medical condition accurately assessed, and your doctor will more than likely indicate any possible future complications.
Once your doctor provides you with a medical report detailing the extent of your injuries and treatment plan, you should speak with an attorney about securing compensation for your damages. At Anapol Weiss, we are committed to maximizing compensation for our clients. Reach out to our team to schedule a consultation about your slip and fall case in Philadelphia, PA today.