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Slip and fall accidents can occur almost anywhere. These frightening and often unexpected accidents can leave the victim confused, embarrassed, and injured. In some cases, the victim may be able to pursue compensation for the harm suffered as a result of the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call 512 246 2224 for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney from Zinda Law Group.
Slippery Floor Statistics
A slip and fall accident can occur at a home, grocery store, parking lot, and many other places. These events can lead to injuries that range from minor and temporary to chronic and severe. Listed below are several important statistics regarding slip and fall injuries throughout the country over the past several years. The data below was provided by the National Safety Council, the Bureau of of Labor Statistics, the CDC, and the National Floor Safety Institute.
- In 2016, 9.2 million people required emergency room treatment from fall-related injuries.
- More than 33,000 people died from falls in 2015.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
- Approximately 700 workers/employees died from slip and fall-related accidents in 2016.
- Slip and fall injuries are the most frequently reported work accidents.
- Approximately 22% of falls result in more than 31 days of missed work.
- Approximately 33%, or one-third, of elderly individuals will experience a slip and fall each year.
- Falls are the number one cause of death for adults 65 and older.
- The medical bills that are created by slip and fall injuries cost Americans more than $34 billion a year.
- The average cost of a slip and fall caused by snow or ice is $33,000 to $48,000.
Common Slippery Floor Injuries
Slip and fall accidents can result in a wide range of injuries. Some of these injuries may be temporary and last for only a few hours or days. However, many slip and fall injuries can lead to prolonged, life-changing injury. Listed below are some of the more common slip and fall injuries.
One possible type of injury that can result from a slip and fall accident are broken or fractured bones. In typical cases, the victim of a slip and fall accident will fracture an arm or wrist as a result of trying to break the fall. Alternatively, the victim of a slip and fall accident may break a bone in the foot or ankle. These types of injuries often require extended medical treatment and may take months to heal.
Sprains and Strains
Many victims of a slip and fall accident will experience some form of muscle sprain immediately after the accident. For instance, the victim may feel a dull or throbbing pain in his or her elbows, wrists, ankles, or neck. Although sprains and strains may not be as severe as broken bones, these types of injuries can linger and significantly impact a person’s day to day life.
Concussions are one of the more severe types of injuries that can result from a slip and fall accident. These injuries can occur when the victim falls and hits his or head against the floor or other object. Because even a single concussion can make a person susceptible to other brain injuries later in life, these injuries should be taken very seriously. Prompt medical attention is always suggested.
The impact of a person’s body weight and the natural motion of a slip and fall make a person’s back, neck, and head susceptible to various forms of injury. In many slip and fall cases, the victim will experience some form of back pain that can linger for months or even years. Similarly, the victim may experience some form of injury to the neck area. These injuries are among the most common types of slip and fall related injuries.
Cuts and Bruises
Some slip and fall accidents may result in cuts or bruising. In some cases, the area or body part that the victim landed on will sustain temporary or prolonged bruising. If a sharp or pointed object is nearby, the victim may also sustain some form of cut or laceration. These injuries may be self-treated. However, severe injuries which result in bleeding may require immediate medical attention.
Knee injuries are also a very common result of slip and fall accidents. In many cases, the victim will try to prevent themselves from falling, and in doing so, may twist or bend his or her knee in an abnormal way. Knee injuries can be temporary, lasting a couple of days or a few weeks. However, some injuries, such as sprains or tears of the ligaments in the knee, can take months or years to heal.
Is the Property Owner Responsible for Your Injuries?
In order to pursue compensation for the injuries and damages suffered after a slip and fall accident, you will first need to determine whether the owner of the property where the accident occurred may be held liable for the accident.
For a property owner to be legally liable for the injuries you may have suffered as a result of a slip and fall accident on their property, one of the following must be true:
- The owner of the premises or an employee must have caused the spill, hazard, or otherwise dangerous surface which directly led to the slip
- The owner of the premises or an employee must have known of the spill, hazard, or otherwise dangerous surface but chose to do nothing about it
- The owner of the premises or an employee should have known of the dangerous surface because a "reasonable" person assuming control of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
In many cases, it is the third option which is in question. Thus, the question of liability often focuses on the whether the property owner acted "reasonably." In answering this question, the law focuses on whether the owner took actions or efforts to keep the property safe and clean. To help determine whether a property owner acted “reasonably,” ask yourself these important questions:
- Had the spill, hazard, or dangerous surface been there for long enough such that the owner should have known about it?
- Was the spill, hazard, or dangerous surface in an open or common area such that the owner should have known about it?
- Does the property owner have a regular procedure for inspecting and cleaning or repairing the premises? If so, what proof does the owner have of this regular maintenance?
- Could the object have been removed or covered or otherwise made safe?
- Was a warning sign or other form of barrier in place to prevent people from slipping or tripping?
- Did poor lighting contribute to the accident?
Asking yourself these important questions can help you determine whether the property owner can be held responsible for your injuries. If you are still unsure about liability, or would like further advice, it may be time to contact a personal injury attorney.
How To File a Claim for a Slip and Fall Accident
Not every slip and fall accident will result in the need to file a lawsuit. However, many of these accidents do result in serious injury which may require medical care or can lead to permanent disability. If you wish to pursue compensation for injuries and damages sustained following a slip and fall accident, you may need to file a lawsuit against the person or entity whose actions or omissions caused your injuries. Listed below are important steps that comprise the process of filing a lawsuit after a slip and fall accident.
1. Seek medical attention for injuries
The first step you should take is to get treatment for your injuries. Receiving medical care will allow you to heal, and it may also create a formal record of the extent of your injuries. Your medical records, which will document the nature and severity of the injuries you sustained, may later be used to establish your case against the property owner.
2. File a report
The next step towards filing a lawsuit following a slip and fall accident is to file an incident report with the supervisor of the premises where the incident occurred. Filing a report will create an official record of the incident which may also help build your case. When creating the report, it is important that you include as many details as possible, including where the incident occurred, how it occurred, and what injuries you experienced.
3. Contact an Attorney
The next step in the process is to contact a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney may discuss the facts and circumstances of your case with you. After learning the details of your case, the attorney may then provide legal advice. An attorney may also work on your behalf by communicating with insurance companies who may refuse to pay out the actual value of your claim. An attorney may also be able to represent you if your claim ends up being litigated in court.
The investigation phase of a slip and fall claim involves the attorney gathering facts and evidence which may establish that the property owner is should be held responsible for your injuries. The investigation process often involves accounting for each of your damages, such as medical bills and lost wages. This step may also involve interviewing witnesses, reviewing surveillance footage, and combing through company policies.
5. Settlement and Lawsuit
At some point, it may be necessary to litigate your case in court. Prior to litigation, you may have the option of accepting a settlement from the at-fault party or the party’s insurance company. If it is not in your best interests to accept the settlement offer, your case may go to court.
Slippery Floor Accident Compensation
A party may be held liable for the injuries of another if the party’s actions or failure to act caused the injuries. When it comes to slip-and-fall accidents, this means that a property owner, or the property owner’s insurance company, may face the possibility of being held responsible for the harm suffered by the victim, otherwise known as “damages.” The damages that may be awarded to a victim of a slip-and-fall accident may be separated into two general categories: Economic damages and Non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be calculated or quantified. The primary forms of economic damages involved in a slip-and-fall accident lawsuit include:
- Medical bills;
- Lost income (present and future); and
- Loss of earning capacity
Medical bills pertain to costs incurred by the victim for hospital stays, doctors’ appointments, pharmacy costs, and physical therapy. Lost income includes the time the victim missed from work due to the injury. If the injury prevents or impairs the victim’s ability to work in the future, lost income may also include the victim’s loss in earning capacity.
Non-economic damages reflect intangible losses. These types of damages are subjectively evaluated by a jury in a lawsuit. Although this class of damages may be harder to quantify than economic damages, non-economic damages may be more valuable than economic damages. Types of non-economic damages in a slip and fall case may include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Disability, and
- Loss of consortium
Legal Time Limits (Statute of Limitations)
A “statute of limitations” can be thought of as a legal time-limit on which a person must file a lawsuit. If a person wishing to file a lawsuit fails to do so within the relevant statute of limitations, that person is effectively barred from litigating the claim in court. Although the length of the statute of limitations varies from state to state, most states have a two or three-year statute for personal injury claims
In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. A claim following a slip and fall accident and injury is considered a type of personal injury claim. This means that a party that is injured following a slip and fall must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident. For instance, if you were injured as a result of a slip and fall that occurred on May 1, 2019, you must file a claim before May 1, 2021 for your claim to be viable.
When the injured party is a child or minor, the statute of limitations is extended until the child reaches the age of majority or until the child is legally emancipated. The child then has two years from that date to file a lawsuit.
In certain situations, the statute of limitations may be paused, or “tolled.” The tolling of a statute of limitations essentially means that the party wishing to file a lawsuit has a little more time to do so. One example of tolling is when the injured party is a minor, as described above. However, it is important to remember that tolling is rare, and should be thought of as an exception rather than the norm.
If you wish to file a lawsuit after being injured in a slip and fall accident, it may be wise to discuss the facts and details of your case with an attorney. This is especially true if you believe the time to file a lawsuit is coming to an end. The attorney may be able to provide guidance with respect to the statute of limitations, thus allowing you to file a claim while it is still viable.
OUR PREMISES LIABILITY ATTORNEYS ARE HERE TO HELP
Our slip and fall accident lawyers may help you understand the law. There are many factors to consider, such as previous complaints about an existing hazard, determining negligence of a business or property owner, and determining negligence, if any, of the individual injured.
These are only a few of the factors that our personal injury firm may analyze when investigating your case. Contact the attorneys of Zinda Law Group today or call 888-449-1160 for a free consultation regarding your slip and fall or premises liability case. As one of our clients, you will pay nothing unless we win your case.