Slips, trips, and falls can result in injuries, disability, or death, especially for people who are 65 years of age or over. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 800,000 people are hospitalized every year due to injuries from falling, most often from head injuries or hip fractures. As per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), about 19,500 people die every year as a result of slipping, tripping and falling. Those deaths comprise about 15 percent of all accidental deaths in the United States.
Common Causes of Slips and Trips
These types of accidents can happen just about anywhere, at any time of the day and under any weather conditions. Aside from auto accidents, they’re the second leading cause of injuries to our clients and the second most litigated type of negligence case. As a personal injury law firm, we see some common causes of slip and trip and fall injuries. Those are:
- Wet entrances in stores
- Spills and debris on store floors
- Ice patches in parking lots, sidewalks, and stairs
- Ice patches where gutters discharge
- Holes in parking lots
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Holes and wrinkles in carpeting
Common Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall Injuries
When a person slips and falls, he or she usually falls backward. In a trip and fall, the victim usually falls forward. Some common injuries from slips, trips, and falls include:
- Traumatic brain injuries with resulting cognitive impairment and other symptoms
- Spinal cord injuries with paralysis, loss of motor function, and loss of sensation
- Hip fractures requiring surgery and rehabilitation
- Shoulder fractures, dislocations, and brachial plexus injuries
- Rib and facial fractures and dental injuries
As a personal injury lawyer Milwaukee WI counts on, we’re required to prove negligence before the client might be awarded damages. There are five elements to proving negligence. Those are:
- That a duty of care was owed to the injured person
- There was a breach of that duty
- The breach of that duty caused the slip and fall or trip and fall
- The slip and fall or trip and fall was the cause of the victim’s injuries
- The victim suffered legally recognized damages
Proving all of those elements can make you eligible for an award of damages, but they’re not automatic. A failure to prove any single element of negligence will very likely cause the court to dismiss your case.
If you haven’t yet retained an attorney to represent you in your accident, and you’re dealing directly with an insurer, that insurer will want to keep you away from an attorney and pay you as little as possible or nothing. Even if you retained an attorney early on, the insurer only wants to pay as little as possible. Damages are yet another battle in a negligence case. Those ordinarily consist of:
- Past and future medical bills, therapy, and rehabilitation
- Past and future lost earnings
- Any permanent disfigurement
- Any permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a normal life
As every personal injury case is different, only some of these damages might be awarded. In a serious injury case that results in permanent disability, all of them might be awarded.
Slip and fall and trip and fall cases involve complicated litigation, and insurers will raise many defenses. Each state has its own nuances on the laws of slips, trips and falls, especially those states with long winters. We’re pleased to offer a free consultation and case evaluation on any slip, trip and fall case.
Thanks to our friend and contributors from Hickey & Turim, S.C. for their insight into personal injury practice.