Slip and Falls / Trip and Falls
Truly, losing one’s balance can be catastrophic. Falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide.
In 1999 over 8 million Americans were injured from falls and of these more than 37,000 died.
Incredibly, over 10% of all workers’ compensation costs arose in that year due to the more than 570,000 injuries from falling accidents in the workplace. Slips, trips and falls are the second leading cause of injury in the workplace causing more than 30,000 accidents every year in the United States. Of these work related falls, more than 5000 workers perished.
It is important to know that all owners of property—even governmental and municipal owners—have an absolute legal duty to keep walking surfaces free of tripping and slipping hazards such as holes, ridges, broken carpeting, etc. Wax buildup from poor maintenance which creates a slipping hazard also can make the owner of property—and their insurance companies-- liable for the devastating consequences of a fall.
Also, know that the law does not allow owners of property to entirely escape responsibility because the person who fell should have seen or known of the dangerous conditions. Even where the injured person is partially at fault, he or she may still recover money to compensate for their injuries to the extent that the lack of care by the owner contributed to the hazard causing the accidental fall.
When people do fall from tripping or slipping, it has been shown people most often injure their back, injuries requiring in many cases serious back surgery such as laminectomy or discectomy. Also, the elbow, shoulder, ankle, hip, and knee joints are also known to be frequently injured in accidental falls.
To prevent slips and falls, the concept of “co-efficient of friction” between the shoe and the walking surface is critical and should be known, understood and accounted for by the owners of property. Where the floor or pavement is icy, wet, or oily, the coefficient of friction is reduced. And, where the co-efficient falls below 40%, there is less than good traction, and the danger of a slipping type accidental fall arises.
In the case of a tripping type fall, it is frequently overlooked by property owners that only a 3/8 of an inch difference in the surface of a walkway does allow for the hazard known as a “stubbing”. A “stubbing” occurs when the front of a pedestrian’s foot strikes the 3/8 inch rise above the surface of the walkway and the pedestrian loses balance.
On a flight of stairs, this type of “stubbing” hazard—created from even a seemingly insignificant bunching of carpet-- can be deadly. Just the slightest defect in carpeting height on an inside stairway—or broken concrete on an outside stairway--- can mean the difference between life and death.
One third of adults older than 65 fall each year. And, of those who fall over 20% suffer at least moderate injures which will prevent them from pursuing their normal activities and greatly increase their chances of a premature death.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tripping or slipping accidental fall, you may have rights to compensation from the homeowner, the landowner or tenant, or the one who maintains the premises. Frequently, that compensation will be available from an insurance company. But, you must file a proper and timely claim. In the case of a governmental property owner, you can lose your claim if, in some cases, you fail to file in as little as 30 days after the accident!
The Greenberg Law Firm, LLP can help you identify those persons or companies responsible to you for just compensation for the injuries you sustained. In addition compensating you for your pain and suffering, such compensation may include reimbursement for your past and future lost wages, and the terrible impact the accident has had upon you and your family.
It is important to have the benefit of competent legal advice as soon as possible after the accident to help you preserve evidence, identify witnesses, and file the essential notice documents to avoid your claim being lost or short changed.
The attorneys at The Greenberg Law Firm, LLP can help insure you get the compensation you deserve from those responsible.