Slip and Fall Attorney expertise is central at TorkLaw, especially given the frequency of slip and fall incidents. These events lead to over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, making them the leading cause of visits (21.3%) as reported by the NFSI. Despite seeming innocuous at times, these accidents can have dire consequences, especially for the elderly. Should such a mishap transpire on someone else’s property due to negligence, understanding your rights and the pertinent legal statutes is vital.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries
Factors contributing to these unfortunate incidents include:
- Uneven surfaces: From potholes and cracked pavements to abrupt transitions from carpets.
- Wet or slippery floors: Whether from spilled liquids, recent waxing, or ice and snow.
- Unsafe stairs: Missing handrails, deteriorating materials, or wet steps.
- Obstructions: Debris, cords, or misplaced objects.
- Dim lighting: Poorly lit areas enhance the risk, especially when combined with the above hazards.
Typical Slip & Fall Injuries
Victims of these accidents often bear the brunt of:
- Broken Bones: The impact of the fall can lead to fractures. Immediate medical attention is crucial for evident or suspected broken bones.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): Any blow to the head demands attention. Symptoms like unconsciousness, dizziness, and vomiting should prompt emergency medical care.
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries: From muscle strains to herniated discs, injuries can range in severity. Spinal cord injuries can lead to debilitating consequences like paralysis.
Premises Liability: Your Rights and Their Responsibilities
The legal rules applicable to a slip and fall accidents are “duty of care” and “proof of notice” – in other words, that the defendant was responsible for maintaining a safe property, and that they breached that duty by not fixing a situation that they knew to be dangerous.
Duty of Care:
The owner of a property (or occupier such as a tenant) who has control over the premises owes a legal duty to keep the property reasonably safe for all visitors who enter the property. The injured person typically must be either an invitee or licensee. An invitee is on the property with the owner’s consent, such as an invited guest. In terms of businesses, all customers are considered invitees. A licensee may be a repair person or vendor, or someone who is performing a legal duty for the owner, such as a mail carrier or gas meter reader. In some cases, even those on the property without consent may be protected.
A landowner may also owe a duty for hazards outside their property, if the hazard was caused by something within their property, such as a leaky pipe that creates a slip hazard on the sidewalk, or a tree whose overhanging branches create a hazard.
Proof of Notice:
Suppose you’re in a supermarket selecting fruit in the produce section. You step on something slippery that causes you to fall and you sustain a broken wrist. Food stores are responsible for periodically checking their aisles to ensure there is nothing on the floor that poses a danger to its customers. Most stores keep a “sweep log” to document when the store was last checked for dangerous conditions and by whom. If the store’s log shows that the produce floor was last checked only a few moments before your injury, the store may not be held liable. However, if it had been a matter of hours before the previous check, or if other evidence, such as video, exists to show that the person who says they performed the sweep was negligent, they may be held liable.
Uneven surfaces, such as cracked pavement or sidewalks are a frequent cause of tripping accidents. Other dangerous conditions include abrupt changes in elevation, or potholes. Whether the sidewalk or pavement is under the jurisdiction of a city, a company such as a store or a bank, the entity responsible for maintaining the property must remedy it within a reasonable time, either by repairing it or blocking off the area with clear signage alerting people to the danger.
Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents:
To establish fault:
- The property’s responsible party had an implied or stated duty of safety.
- Negligence on their part led to a hazardous situation.
- The risk was present long enough to be addressed.
- The accident led to your injury.
What to do After a Slip and Fall Injury:
Document the incident meticulously—take notes, capture photos, and report to the property management. Prioritize seeking medical care, and always consult with a doctor about any persistent pain. In such situations, it’s essential to contact a slip and fall attorney to ensure your rights are protected and to guide you through any potential legal actions.
Why Choose TorkLaw’s Slip and Fall Attorney Team
Establishing negligence demands expertise and determination. Our dedicated team at TorkLaw has a proven track record in ensuring victims receive just compensation. If you’ve been hurt, trust our skilled negotiators and attorneys to champion your cause. Contact us now at 888.845.9696 for a comprehensive, free consultation.