How Do You Prevent Slips and Falls?

How Do You Prevent Slips and Falls?

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How Do You Prevent Slips and Falls?

You can slip when you lose your footing, you can trip when you catch your foot on or in something, and such can also lead to a pretty nasty fall, leaving you with minor to severe injuries. While there are steps we will review on how to prevent these kinds of accidents, sometimes a slip and fall can’t be helped due to someone else’s negligence to maintain their own property for others.

If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, Morgan and Morgan is here to help guide you with expert legal advice. These types of accidents fall under the realm of premises liability, and the laws concerning this area can vary substantially depending on where you live.

If you're still on the fence about working with a slip-and-fall lawyer for this matter, we've prepared answers to some of the most frequently asked questions concerning compensation. Furthermore, we provide suggestions on how to avoid slip and fall accidents in the home, workplace, or public spaces.

If you need further information, you can contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn more.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • Why Is the Prevention of Slip and Fall Accidents Important?

    Every year, more than one million people end up needing emergency medical care in the U.S. due to slip and fall accidents. That's about two thousand people a day or 12% of all emergency room visits. The average cost of these accidents ranges between $30,000 and $40,000. Snow-related slip and fall accidents are even higher, ranging between $33,000 and $48,000.

    Slip and fall accidents result in broken bones about five percent of the time, and severe injuries occur in 20-30 percent of accidents. Falls are one of the most common causes of brain injury and can be hard to detect if the individual doesn't seek medical care right away. Brain injuries can cause long-term and very serious issues.

    Likewise, falls account for the most common cause of hip fractures. A fractured hip is never good for anyone of any age. However, in older adults over 65, fractured hips can cause serious complications that are often life-threatening. Most older adults who experience a hip fracture cannot return to their private residences and end up in nursing homes until death.

    The effect of slip and fall accidents in the workplace is not only painful for the employee but costly to the employer. Employees who suffer a slip and fall accident miss an average of 11 days of work. Employers are generally responsible for paying medical bills and lost wages when an accident occurs in the workplace.

    Slip and fall accidents are an enormous concern for public safety. Not only because they can result in serious injuries, but they can be expensive because of the required medical care and other losses people incur. However, many slip-and-fall accidents can be prevented if people and businesses take care to be on the lookout for common hazards and remedy dangerous situations before disaster strikes.

  • How Do Slips, Trips, and Falls Happen?

    Slip or trip accidents account for 67% of fall accidents. The remaining 33% are the result of falls from a height. Here is a breakdown of slip hazards:

    Slips

    • Wet or greasy surfaces
    • Spilled liquids
    • Weather conditions
    • Loose rugs and mats that aren't anchored down
    • Flooring or other surfaces people walk on that lack traction

    Trips

    • Blocked views
    • Inadequate lighting
    • Cluttered pathways
    • Bunched or wrinkled rugs and carpeting
    • Loose cables and wiring
    • Uneven walking surfaces
    • Cracked pavement and sidewalks

    Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere. However, when you're on someone else's property, and they allow dangerous conditions to go unchecked, they can be held responsible for any injuries that happen to visitors and guests.

  • What Can Property Owners Do to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents?

    Slip or trip accidents happen when there is some unexpected change in an individual's pathway. Generally, these kinds of accidents can be avoided if property owners take measures to clean and examine their property routinely for hazards. Here are some guidelines for maintaining a safe environment for visitors and guests:

    • Clean spills immediately
    • Mark spills or wet areas with "wet floor" signs
    • Install signs for uneven ground or loose gravel
    • Sweep away accumulated debris from the flooring
    • Eliminate obstacles and clutter that impede foot traffic
    • Properly anchor floor mats, rugs, and carpets
    • Secure or cover cables and wiring
    • Provide adequate lighting
    • Cordon off areas that might be hazardous (such as construction areas or spaces where water has accumulated)
    • Install handrails on staircases or inclines
    • Add reflective tape to the bottom and top stairs
    • Ensure walking surface tiles, paint, or other covering are slip resistant
    • Salt down icy steps and thresholds
    • Conduct regular inspections of the property to identify hazards
    • When hazards are uncovered, address the problem promptly
  • Who Is at Fault for a Slip and Fall Accident?

    While a slip and fall accident can happen anywhere, anytime, hazardous conditions in restrooms, parking lots, restaurants, grocery stores, schools, public businesses, and private residences frequently exist and cause some of the most catastrophic injuries. Broken bones, head trauma, and spinal injuries are among the most common injuries sustained in a slip-and-fall accident.

    Most of us have experienced a slip and fall in our lifetime, and it's natural to assume it's your own fault. However, you might be surprised that about half of these accidents are actually the responsibility of negligent business owners, landlords, and homeowners. As such, they should bear the burden of the expenses and losses you incur. Suppose property owners don't take measures to ensure their property is safe. In that case, they can be held accountable for any ensuing damages under premise liability laws.

  • How Does a Premises Liability Claim Work?

    Slip and fall accidents fall under premises liability claims. These types of claims are based on the responsibility of the landowner to keep it properly maintained. The legal doctrine of negligence guides premises liability personal injury cases. When a claim is based on the principle of negligence, the key to winning is demonstrating the property owner owed a duty of care to you, understood or should have known a dangerous condition existed on their property, and failed to fix the problem. As a claimant, you bear the burden of proving this. Since some of these elements are challenging to prove, many slip-and-fall injury victims reach out to Morgan and Morgan for help.

    Demonstrating liability can be tough to achieve, but it's crucial to gaining compensation. Our slip and fall lawyers can work on your behalf to identify who controlled the property where the fall took place, show that the other party had a legal obligation to look out for your welfare, and failed in their duty. The negligent aspect is often the most difficult.

    For example, you must show that the property owner either knew or should have known the hazardous condition existed and didn't address it, which in turn led to your injury. This can be achieved through a variety of means. For instance, if you were injured near the self-serve drink fountain at a fast-food restaurant, the property owner should have reasonably known that spills were likely to occur in that area and should have had mats down or warning signs.

    It's crucial to reach out to one of our slip-and-fall lawyers as quickly as possible after an accident, so the property owner doesn't have time to fix the situation and make it seem like it never existed. Likewise, if you can, take pictures of the area where the accident occurred, paying particular attention to any spill, debris, or obstacle that caused you to fall. Get contact information from witnesses as well. Most importantly, seek medical care right away after a slip and fall accident. You may be more seriously injured than you realize, and medical records are pivotal to gaining compensation.

    In some cases, proving negligence is much easier, especially if the landowner violated a building code, such as a commercial property with broken or missing handrails, insufficient lighting, or rotting steps.  

  • What Are the Laws Concerning Negligence?

    Although specific laws vary by state, here are the general elements required for a successful slip-and-fall lawsuit:

    • Proof that the property owner owed you a duty of care
    • Proof that the property owner breached their duty of care toward you
    • Proof that your injury was caused by the property owner's breach of duty
    • Proof that you suffered losses because of the injuries you sustained
  • Why Does Your Status on the Property Matter?

    Typically, when you're on someone else's property, you'll fall into one of these categories, which can impact whether you have a right to compensation after a slip and fall injury:

    Invitee - As a business customer, you would usually fall under this category as the business invites the public for commerce reasons. An invitee is generally owed the highest degree of care that the business is reasonably safe to visit.

    Licensee - A licensee is someone who is visiting the property with permission. For example, a guest inside someone's home or a salesperson that meets with their client at their business generally falls into this category. Invitees are owed a degree of care as well. Property owners should warn licensees if they know about a dangerous condition or if the licensee isn't likely to be aware of its existence.  

    Trespasser - A trespasser is anyone who enters or remains on the property without the owner's permission. Trespassers aren't generally owed a duty of care unless it's a child. For example, if you took a shortcut across your neighbor's land at night and tripped over a pile of wood, they would not be responsible for your injuries because they didn't know you were there, nor were you invited.

    One other thing to note here, a property owner would not likely be liable if a dangerous condition were out in the open and obvious. For example, if you were out assessing the damage to your community after a big snowstorm, and the local convenience store's roof collapsed, you couldn't then enter the store, fall over debris, and then make a claim for a trip and fall accident.

  • Working With Morgan and Morgan

    While many slip and fall accidents are preventable, that doesn't help you after the fact. Our slip and fall lawyers will work to prove the necessary elements of negligence to ensure you are compensated for your injuries. We can manage all the aspects of your claim, from gathering evidence, calculating your damages, and negotiating with the other party's insurance company. If required, we'll also be prepared to escalate your legal matter to the courts. Often, when insurance companies refuse to offer fair settlements, a trial is the only recourse.

    It can take a lot of effort for a slip-and-fall case to be successful. That's why we employ some of the best slip-and-fall lawyers in the nation. Morgan and Morgan have successfully represented thousands of injured people and helped them to get their lives back on track. You should be entitled to reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more when someone else's negligence leads to harm. No matter where your accident occurred, we have capable lawyers waiting to help. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. If we're unable to recover compensation for you, there is no charge for our services.

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