Slip & Fall Accidents: How Much Do You Really Know?
Most of us think of slip and fall accidents as the occasional trip on a sidewalk crack or slip on a banana peel in the grocery store. However, slip and fall accidents are actually much more common than most people realize. In fact, they are the number one reason for lost work days. So, how much do you really know about slip and fall accidents?
Billions Of Dollars In Medical Costs Spent On Slip & Fall Accidents Every Year
Billions of dollars in medical costs are spent every year to treat slip and fall accidents. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip/fall accidents amount to approximately $70 billion annually. That’s billion with a “B” – and does not take into account non-work related slip and falls.
The NFSI also reports that:
- Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
- Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.
- Floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year.
- Most fall injuries in the home happen at ground level, not from an elevation.
Slip and fall accidents can result in death or serious injuries such as fractures, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, neck, shoulder and back injuries or knee injuries that may force victims to undergo lengthy and expensive medical treatments and rehabilitation. The bottom line is that your ability to work may be affected. You likely will be in ongoing pain and will have a mountain of medical bills.
Determining Liability In A Slip & Fall Claim
While it may be clear that slip and fall accidents are more common than most people think, determining liability in a slip and fall case isn’t as clear. When someone slips and falls due to another’s negligence, it must be determined whether the owner of the property acted reasonably under the circumstances.
According to Greg Bubalo, Managing Partner of the Becker Law Office:
When a slip and fall accident happens, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the person who owned the property or who was renting and responsible for the upkeep and maintenance on the property.
In order to file a slip and fall claim, you need to prove:
- That the owner or renter had an obligation to you to make the property safe.
- That the owner fell short in fulfilling his obligation.
- That you suffered harm as a result of the owner’s actions.
Proving these elements can be complicated, especially since there are specific rules about how evidence is collected and presented in a courtroom.
Going back to the banana peel example mentioned above, a grocery store owner might be liable if he or she knew that the peel had been on the floor, but failed to pick it up. If the owner didn’t know that the peel had just fallen, then liability becomes less clear. Add other variables such as the injured person not watching where he or she was walking, or talking on a cell phone, and determining liability becomes that much more difficult. That’s why having an experienced slip and fall lawyer on your side is important.