Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents happen everywhere — as you're walking on the sidewalk or through a parking lot, at a friend's house, in the grocery store or at a restaurant. Sometimes the fall accident is a result of your own clumsiness; other times, it is caused by unsafe conditions — spills on floors, old walkways, broken handrails, poor lighting and more.

The Reality of Slip and Fall Accidents

According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), over 1 million hospital emergency room visits are due to slip and fall accidents, or 12% of total falls.

  • Half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall.
  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
  • Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
  • Slips and falls represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
  • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year.

Slip and fall accidents are also the number one cause of accidents in hotels, restaurants and public buildings, with 70% occurring on flat and level surfaces.

What typically makes a slip and fall accident a personal injury or premises liability case is that there is some neglected hazard or a potential for a hazard while on another person’s property.

Understanding Premises Liability and Fall Accidents

Premises liability holds property owners legally responsible for accidents that occur on their property due to unsafe conditions. This means that the property owner has failed or neglected to maintain and/or repair his or her property. Regular upkeep and maintenance helps ensure there are no unreasonable risks to visitors.

Wet floor sign

Wet floors can cause slip and fall accidents.

Wet, slippery liquids or other debris on the floor must be cleaned up in a timely manner. Customers, employees and other visitors must be protected or warned of potential dangers, for example, by putting up a wet floor sign or a “watch your step” notice.

Property owners must also provide for reasonably safe entrances and exits. Broken lights or poor lighting can be contributing factors in a slip and fall accident. Property owners are also responsible for clearing away hazardous conditions, such as removing snow and ice in parking lots or on walkways and in doorways.

Property owners must demonstrate reasonable care to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe from any hidden dangers or hazardous conditions, for instance, fixing broken railings, replacing broken light bulbs, cleaning up spills.

In a premises liability case, it has to be proven that the property owner knew or should reasonably have known that the unsafe condition existed.

The highest frequency of slip and fall accidents occur at:

  • Nursing homes and hospitals
  • Supermarkets and grocery stores
  • Shopping malls and restaurants
  • Public transportation vehicles and facilities
  • Movie theaters
  • Stairwells
  • Gas stations and convenience stores

Slip and Fall Injuries Serious for Older Adults

Injuries range in severity. Joint injuries tend to be the most common; however, other frequent injuries occur to the back, wrist, elbow, shoulder and knee. The greatest risk when falling is that you will hit your head; slip and falls are responsible for many traumatic brain injuries along with severe injuries to the spinal cord, back and other extremities.

Most fractures among older adults are caused by falls. Of all fractures from falls, hip fractures are the most serious and lead to the greatest health problems and number of deaths.

  • Each year in the United States, one of every three persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall; half of which are repeat fallers.
  • According to The National Institute on Aging, every year 30% of people over the age of 65 will sustain a fall, of which 10% will result in a serious injury.
  • 67% of fall fatalities are among people aged 75 years or older.
  • Over 60% of nursing home residents will fall each year.
  • Falls represent 40% of all nursing home admissions and are the sixth leading cause of death among people aged 70 years or older.
  • Over 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. Each year, there are over 258,000 hip fractures and the rate for women is almost twice the rate for men.
  • One in three serious bone breaks for senior adults results in death within one year of the accident.

Factors Contributing to Slip and Fall Accidents

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to slip and fall accidents.

  • Faulty equipment
  • Broken handrails or no handrails
  • Poor or no lighting
  • Slippery, cluttered or unstable walking surfaces
  • Holes in the floor or wall openings
  • Unsafely positioned ladders
  • Ice, water or other liquid
  • Grease and other lubricants
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Varying heights in stairs and curbs
  • Cords

There is nothing stopping a property owner from clearing up what caused the accident, hindering the ability to prove your case. Gaining timely legal representation in this type of accident is crucial in order to gather critical physical evidence.

Related Content

Slips, Trips and Falls: The Aftereffects
What happens when you suffer a serious slip and fall injury?

Proven Results

  • $250,000 Settlement Against Restaurant for Slip and Fall Accident
  • Settlement for Failure to Remove Snow and Ice from the Sidewalk
  • $475,000 Settlement Against Restaurant for Dangerous Stairs

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Slip and fall cases can be difficult to prove. To obtain the compensation you deserve, you need an experienced and aggressive personal injury legal team who knows what to look for and how to prove unsafe conditions. The legal team at Nash & Franciskato Law Firm is that team, having obtained substantial settlements for premises liability cases. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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What should I do if I'm involved in a slip and fall accident?

The first thing to do is get medical treatment for any injuries you sustain, especially if they are severe or life-threatening

  • DO NOT make any detailed statements concerning fault
  • DO NOT give any recorded statements to insurance adjusters.
  • DO obtain the names of the property owners and/or managers of the property.
  • DO make a list of witness names and get their statements.
  • DO take pictures of the scene and your injuries.
  • DO save your footwear and clothing.
  • DO complete an accident report about the incident, including details about the environment, if any hazards were present and how the slip and fall happened.

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