Cases of Slip and Fall Accidents have increased significantly in recent years. Statistics from Insurance Information Institute puts the numbers to an average of 3 million falls every year. Fatal cases stand at 14,000 per year. Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere you go, be it a mall, parking garage, workplace, public or private buildings.
While some of these types of accidents may be due to natural elements such as icy pavements or slippery walkways caused by rain, other forms of slip and fall accidents may be due to human negligence. If you slip and fall on private or public property, you may sustain injuries that may leave you incapacitated and broke. Piling hospital bills, pain, and suffering lost wages and even lost earning capacity are examples of damages you should get compensated for.
Understanding Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Besides natural hazards like rain and snow, slip and fall accidents can also be caused by poor environmental conditions such as uneven sidewalks, wet floors, dangerous stairs, and spilled substances.
Wet Floors: Falls and injuries caused by wet floors are common in Los Angeles. Wet floors can be from ongoing construction or renovation projects. Premise owners are supposed to put yellow hazard signs to warn people about any hazardous conditions within the premises. Failure to fulfil this obligation may make the premise owners liable for any accidents within these premises.
Ice and Snow: It is the responsibility of business owners or government entities to manage and maintain a safe business environment regardless of the prevailing weather conditions. When these concerned parties fail in their mandate to keep these premises hazard-free, any injuries arising from slip and fall accidents within these premises are their fault.
Dangerous Stairs: Injuries sustained from unsafe stairs and escalators can be severe and even fatal. Slick tiles, waxed wood, worn carpeting, poor lighting, and defective handrails are all factors that can lead to a slip and fall from the stairs. Property owners and managers must keep premises well maintained and safe. They are often held accountable for any accidents caused by their negligence or failure to fulfil this obligation.
Uneven Sidewalks: Potholes, manholes, uneven pavements, cracks, loose bricks, debris, and poor construction on sidewalks pose a serious safety risk to pedestrians. Government entities mandated to construct, manage, and maintain such walkways may be held liable if cases of serious slip and fall accidents are reported from such places.
Common Injuries of Slip and Fall Accidents
Although they can be deceptively subtle, slip and fall accidents can result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries. Examples of such injuries include:
- Back injuries.
- Head and neck injuries.
- Shoulder injuries.
- Hip and bone fractures.
- Injuries to the unborn baby in pregnant women.
These injuries can adversely affect your life and leave you in a financial mess due to the high treatment cost. They can even result in a permanent disability or chronic condition. Regardless of where you slipped and fell, you should file for a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your damages. No matter how minor or subtle your injuries may seem at first, the chances are that they can escalate and get serious with time.
What to Do Following a Slip and Fall Accident
If you slipped and fell on public or private property, there are certain critical steps you should take to safeguard your rights and validate your claim. It is strongly encouraged to immediately report the slip and fall accident to the property owner, manager, or senior staff.
Everything you tell these parties within the first ten minutes may make or break your claim. Always be careful of what you tell them. Don’t make damning jokes or excuses for your fall. Again, don’t dust yourself and limp away without reporting the accident. The next step is to take photos of the accident scene and even have someone record you as you limp. Photographic evidence is very powerful and can significantly strengthen your claim. Also, make sure you identify potential witnesses and obtain their contact details. Before you leave the premises, make sure you receive an incident report for the accident.
Once you’ve done the necessary, head over to your doctor and undergo a thorough medical examination. You should do this within the same day and especially if no ambulance was called to your rescue. Ensure you tell the doctor every detail about the accident, including place, time, and how you feel. Medical records and professional testimonies from your doctor are other crucial pieces of evidence that can work to your advantage.
Slip and fall accidents may not seem serious at first, but your injuries’ pain and severity may be obvious sometime later. Having substantial evidence may make the process of filing for a personal injury claim much easier and determining fault less complicated.
Contact a Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
With photographic evidence, a medical report, and an incident report in place, the next step is to file for a personal injury claim. Since determining fault can be complicated and the cause of your fall may be disputed, you should retain a knowledgeable and experienced slip and fall lawyer by your side. This will ensure your case is successful. Engaging insurance companies on your own with your health at stake may not work in your favour. Lawyers certified in this area will guide you through the legal process from start to finish.