How am I Protected Against Slip & Fall Accidents?
According to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), upwards of one million Americans sustain debilitating injuries in slip-and-fall accidents annually, and more than 17,000 casualties result from these accidents. Slip-and-fall injuries are frequently observed among the elderly, and Americans over 65 years of age are most susceptible to injury. Victims of slip-and-fall accidents can sustain a range of injuries, including bruises, concussions, traumatic brain injuries and fractures of the spine, hip, arm, ankle, leg or pelvis.
More than 50% of slip-and-fall accidents are attributable to dangerous conditions that render walking surfaces unsafe for travel. Victims of slip-and-fall accidents may sustain injuries from tripping over dropped objects that obstruct their path. For instance, a grocery shopper might sustain injuries from tripping over an overturned crate of oranges in the produce section. Supermarket owners may be held liable if they fail to clear the scattered oranges from the floor. If a factory worker trips due to excessive clutter of boxes, conveyer belts and machinery, the factory owner may be held liable for failing to organize the equipment so that employees can safely maneuver around the workplace without risking injury. If a potential home buyer at an open-house gets injured from stumbling over a ripped, bunched up or snagged carpet, the property owner may be held liable for damages. Other slip-and-fall injuries result from sliding over wet, slippery surfaces or stumbling on rough, jagged terrain. The owner of a salon may be held liable if a client slips on a puddle of shampoo that a hairstylist failed to mop up. The owners of a gymnasium may be held liable if athletes fall on recently polished gymnasium floors and the owners failed to display signs warning visitors to exercise caution. Inadequate maintenance of sidewalks and parking lots frequently poses a risk for slip-and-fall accidents. If a customer exits a store and sustains an injury from tripping over a gaping, unpaved pothole or a detached curb in the store’s parking lot, the store owner may be held liable for failing to maintain the parking lot. Property owners and municipalities must ensure that sidewalks are not damaged by environmental factors. Compressed, compacted soil can result in depressed sidewalks or split them apart, and protruding tree roots can elevate sidewalks. Sidewalks are prone to deterioration during the wintertime when they become encrusted with snow and ice. Re-freezing water seeps into sidewalk cracks and widens rifts in cement. Property owners may be held liable if pedestrians suffer slip-and-fall accidents due to insufficient shoveling and salting of walkways during the winter.
In order to successfully file a premises liability or personal injury claim resulting from a slip-and-fall accident, the plaintiff must fulfill certain criteria. The plaintiff must provide evidence that the property owner or employee created the hazardous condition that precipitated the fall. As an example, the owner of a coffeehouse may be held liable for a slip-and-fall accident that occurred because a waitress spilled coffee on the floor as she served customers. Another example would be a landlord who places a space heater near the drafty entrance of an apartment building and a tenant is injured from tripping over the space heater’s extension cords. In this situation, the landlord may be held liable for damages. Alternatively, the plaintiff must provide evidence that the property owner or employee was aware, or should have been aware, of a hazardous condition but failed to effectively eliminate the hazard or block access to it. If a landlord knew that a flight of stairs in an apartment complex was unsafe because tenants complained about broken steps and protruding nails, but the landlord failed to repair the staircase, the landlord may be held liable for any slip-and-fall accidents that occur on the stairwell. If a tall glass vase falls off a shelf and shatters on the floor of a florist shop and if the store owner fails to clean up the glass, the owner of the florist shop may be held liable for injuries if a customer trips and cuts her foot on the glass shards. The law firm of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble has significant experience successfully handling slip-and-fall accident cases. If you have sustained a severe injury in a slip-and-fall accident due to a property owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit and obtain a just settlement to compensate your pain and suffering.
If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall accident and want to speak to a personal injury lawyer about your options, contact O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble today. Contact us online or call at 1-908-928-9200 or 1-800-586-5817