Legal Guide

Burden of Responsibility: 5 Things to Know About Slip and Fall Injuries

In the movies, the comic slips on a banana peel and falls hysterically. In the real world, slip and fall accidents happen frequently with serious results, including fatalities.

According to NSFI, the statistics on slip and fall injuries are shocking:

  • Slip and fall injuries account for one million hospital emergency room visits.
  • Fractures occur in 5% of all people who fall.
  • They cause the most lost days from work and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.
  • Women are far more likely to slip and fall with injury.
  • Such injuries are the leading cause of worker’s compensation claims.

In short, 20 to 30 percent of people who experience a slip and fall wind up with mild to serious injuries, from bruises and scratches to fractures and brain trauma. Common injuries include sprains, strains, and fractures to the ankle, forearm, hand, hip, leg, pelvis, and wrist.

Who has the burden of responsibility in a slip and fall incident?

Responsibility may not be as simple as it appears. But, if you are the injured party, you need compensation for your injuries, lost compensation, and more. You want to be made whole in terms of your physical and financial recovery.

So, here are five things to know about slip and fall injuries:

  1. Act quickly. To the extent possible, you want to secure the medical help necessary immediately. But, if you can, you must let an employee or owner know what happened.
  2. Don’t talk too soon: If the property owner’s insurance company or lawyer calls, you have no obligation to give a statement. You may not know the full extent of your injuries, for example, or remember the series of events.
  3. See a doctor. It’s in your personal and legal interest to seek medical care and follow through on the treatments, therapy, and regimens prescribed.
  4. Be your own advocate. Giving it time, you will remember what happened. It’s in your interest to keep a diary covering the incident and the subsequent rehabilitation processes.
  5. Add up the costs. You should keep records of work time lost, compensation sacrificed, mileage on doctor visits, prescribed medication receipts, and anything related to the incident and injury.

Then, there’s a sixth thing!

Falls take place in private homes, public spaces, and business properties. Owners are considered liable for damages when the premises are unreasonably dangerous. But, negligence is the key factor in insurance and court decisions. That’s why you need an experienced slip and fall attorney to make your case that the burden of responsibility falls on the property owner.

You’ll need to show the property owner had a duty of care. You need to make the case that the property owner did not provide a reasonably safe environment and that they neglected to address the potential hazards that could cause foreseeable harm. And, you need to show your injuries are a direct result of the hazardous conditions.

As noted in Reuters, “Dangerous conditions such as torn carpeting, changes in flooring, poor lighting, narrow stairs, or a wet floor can cause someone to slip and hurt him or herself inside a building. Other instances of slip and fall incidents can occur when people trip on broken or cracked public sidewalks, or trip and fall on stairs or escalators. In addition, a slip and fall case might arise when someone slips or trips and falls because of rain, ice, snow or a hidden hazard, such as a pothole in the ground.”

So, you can’t do this alone. After an injury, you must contact a skilled professional, an experienced attorney able to lead and navigate your way through the maze of insurance and legal issues surrounding your slip and fall.

The best attorneys will deal with your insurance company and the property owner’s insurance company. They will represent and advise you in negotiation and mandatory settlement hearings if you are scheduled for litigation. They are obliged to work in your interest and earn their fees.

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