According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1 million people have a serious slip and fall accident in the United States each year. But what actually defines what a slip and fall accident is?
Defining Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident that results in a legal suit is a type of personal injury case. In its most basic terms, a slip and fall accident is an accident in which someone slips, trips or missteps and falls to the ground because of a hazardous situation that was present prior to the fall.
A hazardous situation might be anything from a broken step or concrete that was moved upward because of the undergrowth of roots to ice on a sidewalk or a spill of milk in a grocery store. When someone slips in one of these situations, it is not their fault. No one expects to fall when they are simply walking on the sidewalk or in a grocery store.
Injuries and Wrongful Deaths From Slip and Fall Cases
Simply slipping and falling on a crooked sidewalk and ending up with a sore leg for a few hours is definitely an annoyance, but many slip and fall cases result in injuries that are much worse than just a scrape or bruise. For example, someone falling on a patch of ice on a sidewalk in winter could end up with broken bones or even a serious head injury.
Situations like these often cause the person who fell to experience excruciating pain and suffering at the time of the accident and for months or even years afterward. Furthermore, broken bones and internal injuries may necessitate lengthy stays in hospitals, expensive and painful surgeries that result in severe scarring and other complications, time away from work and loss of wages and more. Some of those injured in slip and fall accidents are never the same again.
Furthermore, some slip and fall accidents can be fatal. These are known as wrongful death personal injury cases, and they are generally carried out by spouses or other close family members of the deceased.
Who’s Responsible in a Slip and Fall Accident?
It is important to note here that in legal terms, slipping or tripping on a completely flat and hazard-free area because of a fault of your own is not considered a slip and fall accident that might be seen in court. On the other hand, if you fall because of a hazard or dangerous situation and are on someone else’s property, it is likely that the owner of that property will be liable for your accident and subsequent injuries because they did not remove or fix the hazard. Therefore, the owner of the property would have committed negligence, which simply means that they carelessly left a dangerous situation that they should have fixed.
There are two types of property owners in these cases. First, there are personal property owners or residential owners. In cases involving residential property owners, someone may have slipped and fell in or around your house or on the sidewalk outside your home.
Next, there are commercial property owners. In general, commercial property owners are much more liable for slip and call cases than residential owners. But both parties need to be aware of making sure that the floors and grounds on their premises are clear of dangers and hazards.
Types of Slip and Fall Hazards
Again, there are numerous types of hazards that might result in slip and fall cases. The most common hazards include ice and snow, spilled liquid substances, obstructions like piles of fallen leaves, uneven or broken concrete on the sidewalk or steps, worn carpeting that has become slippery or a lack of hand rails, especially on steps. It is essential that property owners make sure that their property remains safely passable for everyone. If any of these situations occur, is is their responsibility to repair the hazards.
If you have recently been involved in a slip and fall accident, it’s important that you contact a reputable lawyer in your area as soon as possible to see whether or not you may be able to recover damages for your injuries, bills and pain and suffering.