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A slip and fall accident can occur in a second, but it can cause long-lasting financial and emotional damages. Each year, slip and falls account for over 1 million hospital visits. When employers ignore safety regulations or a store fails to clean up a spill, workers and customers can be seriously injured and left with significant hospital bills.
The lawyers at Zinda Law Group have experience representing slip and fall victims and helping them seek the compensation they deserve. Call us today at (800)-863-5312 for a free attorney consultation with a Fort Collins slip and fall attorney.
COMMON CAUSES OF SLIP AND FALL INJURIES
While many people may think of a slip and fall injury occurring in a store, accidents can occur in a number of settings, from workplaces to parking lots to friends’ homes. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and falls account for over 1 million emergency visits each year. While there are a number of situations that can lead to a slip and fall, some of the common situations include:
For a free legal consultation with a slip and fall injury lawyer serving Fort Collins, call 800-863-5312
Spills and Wet Floors
Wet floors can be extremely slippery. When a workplace fails to clean up a chemical spill or a business has recently mopped its floors, these can create slick surfaces. When there is no warning sign to alert people to the potential danger, individuals can lose their balance and break a bone, fracture a hip, or hit their head.
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One of the easiest ways to prevent falls is by ensuring that people can see where they are walking. When a store, parking lot, or workplace has dim lighting that makes it difficult to see and avoid potential hazards, individuals can trip and fall.
Employers have a duty to provide a safe work environment for their workers and protective equipment to help prevent slip and falls. This can include providing adequate scaffolding, ladders, and protective equipment, such as safety harnesses.
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Floor Openings and Holes
In some cases, a business or property owner may use planks, rugs, or other temporary structures to cover holes in the ground. However, these structures may not be even with the ground and may cause individuals to trip, stumble, and fall.
Businesses have a duty to keep their entryways clear and free from hazards. This could mean ensuring that rugs are properly rolled out and secured so customers do not trip. During the winter, this may also include shoveling and salting the entryway so that customers do not slip on ice.
Broken Stairs and Railings
When a stair is broken and gives way unexpectedly, an individual may trip and fall. In some cases, broken railings that could have helped people catch their balance may also be broken, compounding the potential injuries.
COMMON SLIP AND FALL INJURIES
Slip and fall injuries can be serious. In the workplace, 27% of nonfatal work injuries that required workers to take time off from work in 2018 were related to slips, trips, and falls. Slip and fall cases are one of the leading causes of accidental death; in 2019, over 39,400 people died from a fall. Some of the most common slip and fall injuries include:
When people start to fall forward, their first instinct will usually be to put their hands out to break their fall, which can result in broken wrists and arms. If a victim’s foot gets caught in a hole or around another hazard, they may break an ankle or leg.
Under the right conditions, anyone can suffer from a hip fracture. However, individuals over 65 are more likely to suffer from hip fractures, which are caused by falling more than 95% of the time. Each year over 300,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures, half of which prevent elderly individuals from returning home or living independently after the fracture.
When people slip and fall backwards, they can hit their head and seriously injure themselves. According to the CDC, the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries are falls. Head injuries can cause concussions, headaches, vertigo, and comas, among other injuries.
When individuals fall backwards, they suffer from back and spinal cord injuries. Workers who are injured from a fall may need extensive surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation to recover from their back injuries.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SLIP AND FALL
After a slip and fall injury, you may be unsure about what to do next. The steps below outline what you should do immediately following a fall as well as the actions to follow in the days and weeks afterwards.
1. Seek Medical Help
In serious fall cases, you should immediately seek medical attention, especially for potential back and head injuries that can be life-threatening. In mild slip and fall cases, you may not feel as though you need medical attention. However, it is always a good idea to be checked by a doctor after a slip and fall to detect any injuries that you could have incurred because of your fall. You should also pay attention to any signs and symptoms that occur in the days following the accident, as they may not be immediately noticeable.
2. Document Your Damage
As soon as possible, be sure to take photos of your injuries. This may include pictures of any broken bones, stitches, or other injuries from a slip and fall. Additionally, if you are not too injured to do so, you should take pictures of the location of where your accident occurred and any broken stairs, wet floors, or other hazards that contributed to your fall.
3. Report the Accident
If you were injured at work, you should report the accident to your supervisor. In Colorado, this must be done within four working days of the injury. A worker’s compensation claim should also be filed within two years of the injury. If the accident occurred in a store, parking lot, or other commercial space, you should report it to the owner or manager. Be sure to get a copy of the report in writing as well as the contact details of the owner.
4. Keep Track of Your Expenses
In order to help you receive the compensation you may deserve after a slip and fall injury, you will need to keep track of your expenses. This could include hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, and documented time taken off from work due to your injuries.
5. Contact a Lawyer
A Fort Collins slip and fall attorney may be able to assist you by dealing with questions about hospital bills, insurance claims, and the next steps that you can take in your case. Attorneys may also be able to discuss the specific facts of your case and help determine how much your case may be worth.
WHO MAY BE HELD LIABLE FOR YOUR INJURIES
In general, a slip and fall injury deals with premises liability law. The term “premise liability” refers to certain duties that landowners need to follow to maintain their property and keep it safe for visitors. The owner’s duty depends on the type of visitor, who is classified as a licensee, invitee, or trespasser under Colorado law. Workplace slip and fall injuries will not fall into these categories.
An invitee is a person who enters another person’s property for a business purpose, such as a shopper injured at a grocery store. Property owners have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe, and visitors must be notified of any foreseeable dangerous conditions. If a property owner discovers unsafe conditions, then the business either needs to repair them or put up a warning sign alerting guests to the potential danger. Property owners who fail to repair dangerous conditions and fail to warn guests could be held liable for injuries that result from these conditions.
A licensee is a person who enters a landowner’s property with their permission. This could include a setting where a victim is a guest at a friend’s house and is injured. A licensee can only recover for damages if the property owner failed to use reasonable care concerning dangers they knew about. For example, if there was a broken step that the property owner knew about but failed to warn the victim about, then the injured victim could potentially sue the landowner.
A trespasser is an individual that does not have the landowner’s permission to be on their property. A trespasser will generally be unable to recover damages unless the landowner willfully or deliberately caused the injuries.
If you were injured in a slip and fall at work, premise liability laws will typically not apply. Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment. If protective fall equipment was not provided or safety procedures were ignored, your employer may be liable for your injuries.
What Compensation Can I Seek After a Slip and Fall Injury?
After a slip and fall, you may be able to recover hospital bills, medical expenses, time taken off work because of your injuries, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering. Additionally, if you lost a loved one due to a severe fall and the resulting injuries, family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim. The circumstances of each case are unique, and a skilled Fort Collins personal injury lawyer may help you seek the compensation you deserve.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident and want to file a lawsuit against the other party, you need to be aware of the time limits, or statutes of limitations, that are in place. In Colorado, you have two years from the victim’s death to file a wrongful death claim. However, it is best to contact a Fort Collins slip and fall attorney as soon as possible to help you navigate the filing timeline and seek the compensation you may deserve.
CONTACT A LAWYER WHO HANDLES SLIP AND FALL CASES
At Zinda Law Group, our slip and fall attorneys have helped many victims get the compensation they deserved after suffering from an injury. Whether you were injured from a workplace spill or a negligent business owner, we recognize the impact that a slip and fall injury can have on victims and will work to help our clients seek compensation for hospital bills, time taken off work, pain and suffering, and much more.
We believe an accident victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, call Zinda Law Group at (800)-863-5312 to receive your free consultation with one of our Fort Collins slip and fall attorneys.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.