People often consider falls minor embarrassments, perhaps small nuisances. Many times, we don’t think much of falls—instead, we quickly recover and move on. That the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consistently reports falls as one of the most prevalent causes of unintentional injuries and deaths in the United States might surprise many people. A fall can lead to a serious or even tragic injury, so treat it with caution.
Everything from icy sidewalks to unguarded dangerous heights can cause falls, but the majority of falls take place without warning and on solid ground. Victims of such accidents rarely spot hidden dangers such as unmarked wet floors or slippery ground.
When an individual opens a slip and fall case against a company, financial recovery can get complicated. If you face such challenges, you need an experienced attorney to help fight for your rights. The law office of Stewart J. Guss can discuss the details of your case.
Types of Slip and Fall Claims
Many situations can lead to slips and falls. When you’re distracted or don’t pay attention—while running down the sidewalk and looking at your phone, for example—you can trip and fall. When you caused your own slip and fall accident, you must cover the cost of your injury and recovery. On the other hand, if a business, other person, or entity created an unsafe situation that led to your fall, the law allows you to hold the at-fault party or parties liable for covering the cost of your injuries.
When a retail store opens its doors for business and encourages customers to enter, that store has a legal responsibility to ensure safe conditions for every person inside the premises. Owners or employees must routinely inspect the building for dangers and quickly fix any issues they identify as harmful. The business must also inform customers about any known but unresolved hazards.
Occasionally, businesses will try to cut corners, won’t take the time to schedule regular safety inspections, and let potential injury risks go unidentified. This can lead to dangerous conditions and end with injured customers. When a business’s employees don’t know about dangerous conditions because they did not take the time to identify them or failed to address them, injury victims can hold the business negligent.
To prove negligence, you must identify several factors:
- The business owner or management team knew or should have known about a hazard or potential hazard.
- They did not fix the hazardous situation and didn’t provide a warning for customers.
- The dangerous situation resulted in a slip and fall accident in which you incurred damages and sustained injuries.
A business faced with a slip and fall liability will generally attempt to fight it. The business will typically first claim that the staff couldn’t have known about the dangerous condition, and therefore couldn’t provide a warning to customers. For example, if a toilet floods, a customer could potentially slip before a shop attendant learns of the danger. On the other hand, if the floor remained wet for an extended amount of time, that claim holds less merit. Therefore, attorneys will evaluate these cases on an individual basis.
The courts don’t want every person who falls to bring a case, so the legal system leans toward siding with a business in a slip and fall. If a slip and fall injured you, retain an experienced attorney. Proving the business negligent and at fault will help you recover the compensation you deserve and cover the cost of your recovery.
Common Slip and Fall Dangers
Many hazards in a business or retail store can result in a slip and fall accident, including:
- Spills that nobody has completely and properly cleaned
- Recently cleaned wet floors that bear no warning signs
- Floors that are slippery from polishing
- Loose carpets that can slide out from under you
- Ramps that lack slip-proof material or handrails
In addition, these objects or hazards can cause you to trip and fall in some businesses:
- Loose cords or wires improperly attached to a wall
- Oversized shelves or other obstacles that block walkways
- Carpets unattached to the ground
- Small steps or door jambs without proper warnings to step up
- Trash, boxes, tools, or other debris that someone has left on the ground
- Uneven floors or gaps in floor panels
If any of the items or situations listed above cause your slip and fall accident, you may have a legitimate legal claim for damages and compensation.
Serious Injuries Caused by Slips and Falls
Regardless of how you land on the ground, whether from a fall off a ramp or a trip over an unattended cord, these serious injuries can result:
Concussions – A concussion is a type of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can leave a variety of symptoms, including headaches, moodiness and irritability, difficulty with cognitive functions, and sensory issues, to name just a few.
Soft tissue injuries – When you stretch or pull muscles, tendons, or ligaments, the result can tear, strain, or sprain them. While invisible, these injuries can cause incredibly debilitating pain.
Fractures – When a bone strikes an object or hits the ground, it can break, requiring time to heal—and in serious cases, surgery.
Contusions – A bruise isn’t always a minor injury. Slip and fall victims who incur serious, painful bruises may require long recovery times. A bruised tailbone is especially common in a slip and fall accident and can limit the victim’s ability to sit at a desk and work for long stretches of time.
Spinal cord injuries – When accidents damage spinal cord tissue, the effects can cascade through the body, making these injuries especially dangerous. The spinal cord transmits messages from your brain to the rest of your body. When injuries interrupt these messages, the body can lose function. Sometimes this damage is reversible—but it’s often permanent.
Back and neck injuries – Any person who has experienced neck or back pain understands the lasting effects this type of injury can leave. These injuries restrict normal ranges of motion, and can limit a person’s ability to work or even move around while they heal.
Anytime you slip and fall, first take note of how you feel and whether you suffered any immediate injuries. If you hit your head during the fall, seek medical help right away. A quick diagnosis will help you start the recovery process sooner and establish a medical record of your injuries. These medical records form an important piece of evidence when opening a claim for compensation.
The severity of your injuries, and whether those injuries left lasting symptoms, determine the losses and damages that result from your slip and fall. Common losses include:
Medical expenses – The cost of medical treatment can add up quickly. Even if you have health insurance, your deductible, copays, medication, and visits to specialists can become financial burdens. Some injuries require hospital stays, surgeries, and intensive rehabilitation. Medical bills can overwhelm the finances of slip and fall accident victims.
Lost income – After an accident, your injuries might make resuming your job impossible for an extended period. If your job requires you to lift heavy objects, stand on your feet all day, engage in physical activities, or even sit at a desk all day, pain and injuries from a slip and fall accident can make all of these actionsimpossible. Even if you can to go back to work quickly, you might need to take extended time off for rehabilitation, doctor appointments, or physical therapy. If you cannot work, you can lose income.
Additional damages – In addition to established economic issues like medical bills and loss of income, a slip and fall accident can also cause non-economic damages, such as emotional trauma, physical pain and suffering, and loss of ability to perform activities that contribute to the enjoyment of life. It’s a bit harder to categorize and quantify these damages, so work with an attorney who understands how to navigate cases that involve this type of injury.
A slip and fall accident can strike so quickly. When it does, you might not think your injuries are all that serious at first. But some injuries take time to develop, and you could change your mind once the lasting effects of an injury don’t subside or begin to emerge. Regardless of the initial extent of your injuries, contact a lawyer to discuss your slip and fall claim.
Find an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney You Can Depend On
When it comes to hiring a personal injury attorney, look for someone with the experience, knowledge, and resources to help you navigate your slip and fall claim.
Stewart Guss and his team of attorneys deeply understand how businesses work and how they will attempt to avoid liability for the claim. We will work on your case directly with the company’s insurance agent and help to prove negligence so that you can recover the compensation you deserve. When you work with us, you will benefit from decades of experience.
In the event of a slip and fall accident, and before you have a chance to retain legal representation, an insurance company will frequently ask you to sign an agreement. Regardless of the scenario, consult with a lawyer before signing such agreements. Your injuries, and the law, might entitle you to more compensation than they initially offer. Always have an attorney present before you sign any legal documents.
Contact a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer for Assistance
Are you currently suffering from a slip and fall accident that resulted in a long recovery time and critical injuries? If you believe that a business caused your fall, the legal team at Stewart J. Guss is here and able to help you. We understand the difficulty of proving a company’s negligence in a slip and fall case. We are committed fighting for liability and have the resources to do so. We don’t back down when it comes to defending the rights of our clients.
At our law firm, we do not expect payment unless we win compensation for you. You have nothing to lose by scheduling an initial consultation to discuss your case. Please call our office at 800-898-4877 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation today.
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