One of the most common types of personal injury cases involves someone suffering an injury or wrongful death in a slip and fall accident where a property has not been properly maintained. Filing a legal claim against property owners and managers for damages resulting from a slip and fall accident can be overwhelming while dealing with recovery from injury or mourning the unexpected and preventable loss of a loved one. The slip and fall attorneys at Cooney & Conway have decades of experience litigating personal injury lawsuits and will work hard to recover fair compensation from responsible parties.
Slip and fall accidents that result in injury can be caused by negligence like poor design or improper maintenance. Hazards are created by the presence of slippery surfaces and substances like food spills or water leakage. A personal injury or wrongful death from a fall caused by a hazardous condition on another person’s property can entitle the victim or the victim’s family to compensation.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed after a fall, call 800-322-5573 and speak to an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer at Cooney & Conway to discuss your case. You can also fill out the contact information free case evaluation form on this page and a qualified professional will promptly respond to your inquiry.
Type of Slip and Fall Injuries
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Acute trauma to the skin, muscle, tendon, or ligament, soft tissue injuries are neither fractures or internal organ injuries. Often not showing outward signs of severity, soft tissue injuries like cuts and abrasions can cause chronic pain and result in an increased vulnerability to future injuries.
- Head Injuries: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Head trauma can result in injuries ranging from a concussion that clears up in a relatively short period of time to more serious and long-lasting complications, such as cognitive impairment, mood changes, seizures, and other debilitating symptoms.
- Hip Fractures: Falls are listed as the cause of an overwhelming majority of hip fractures, which usually require surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation process. The CDC reports that 20 percent of hip fracture patients die within one year of the injury.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Almost always severe and life-threatening, spinal cord injuries demand immediate emergency care and ongoing treatment thereafter. Rehabilitation and treatment can cost millions of dollars over the course of time.
- Broken Bones and Sprains: Whether a minor fracture or a severe break, broken bones and sprains are painful and can require months of treatment and rehabilitation. Only an X-ray can fully diagnose the extent and any additional complications of a broken bone or sprain.
- Pain and Suffering: The value of damages sought for pain and suffering are difficult to calculate. Factors that are considered in these types of damages include:
- Amount of physical pain endured
- Worry and grief
- Social events missed
- Sleep disorders or issues
- Inconvenience factors
- Loss of enjoyment of life as result of injury
- Wrongful Death: In the worst of cases, a slip and fall injury can lead to a preventable death. To recover damages in a slip and fall wrongful death case, the family of the deceased must prove that:
- Negligence caused the accident
- The accident caused the wrongful death
Potential Damages in a Slip and Fall Case
If found to be negligent, property owners or managers can be found liable for damages incurred in a slip and fall accident. Financial damages can be awarded for costs associated with accident injuries including:
- Household services
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of future income
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses
- Permanent disability
- Property damages
How Do Slip-and-Fall Accidents Happen?
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere and lead to over one million people to visit the emergency room every year. Owners and managers are responsible for the general safety of people on their property and can be held liable for damages resulting from falls. More than half of all slip and fall accidents happen due to hazardous walking surface areas. The most common causes of slip and fall accidents that cause personal injury or wrongful death include:
- Cluttered floors: Store merchandise placed in aisles, or supplies, equipment, trash, and debris that is left out represent tripping hazards.
- Damaged floors and stairs: Proper maintenance of carpets, floor tiles, floorboards, stairwells and handrails can prevent accidents and injuries. If someone falls and is injured due to a damaged or improperly maintained floor or stairway, the property owners could be held responsible for subsequent damages.
- Damaged sidewalks: Gaps and cracks in sidewalks and parking lots pose a risk of tripping and causing serious personal injury.
- Ditches and potholes: Openings on the surface of parking lots or driveways can cause serious property damage and personal injury.
- Inadequate lighting: Property owners and managers may be liable for injuries suffered in falls. This is often due to lack of lighting contributed to the accident. Insufficient light makes it difficult to see stairway steps or obstacles or to recognize changes in a walking surface.
- Poor weather conditions: Rain, snow, and ice on sidewalks and parking lots can wreak havoc on pedestrians. Property owners and municipalities are responsible for keeping steps, walkways, and driveways clear of snow and ice, and they can be held liable for injuries from slips if pathways are not plowed, shoveled, or salted.
Where Do Slip-and-Fall Accidents Occur?
Accidents where someone is injured by slipping and falling to the ground can happen just about anywhere and are second only to car accidents as a cause for accidental deaths in the United States. If injuries or death is a result of negligence or carelessness, victims and their family families may be able to recover damages from the liable party or parties.
Common locations where slip and fall accidents frequently occur include:
- Entertainment Venues: Theaters, stadiums, and arenas are large venues with ramps, stairways, escalators, and elevators which represent chances for patrons and employees to sustain injuries from falls. Clutter, poor lighting, and improper maintenance can lead to falls that cause injuries or wrongful death. Bleachers and other types of seating options that are not properly maintained can also cause falls that lead to serious personal injury.
- Parks and Playgrounds: You don’t have to be a child to be injured in a fall due to poorly maintained benches, playground equipment, or holes in walkways, athletic fields, and other public areas. Equipment and tools left by maintenance workers can also present hazards if not properly handled or stored.
- Private Homes: Slip and fall accidents at a private home can result in prickly lawsuits, especially if the plaintiff and defendant are friends or relatives. It is important to understand that whatever compensation is received will come from the insurance company that represents the defendant, so friendship should deter injured parties from pursuing necessary legal action.
- Residential Rental Homes and Apartments: If someone is injured in a slip and fall accident on the premises of an apartment complex, liability could rest with the landlord, a tenant, or both, depending on the circumstances that led up to the accident that caused the injuries.
- Retail Stores: Grocery stores, big box stores, shopping malls, restaurants, and other retail and service establishments have a legal responsibility to ensure that any spills are cleaned, aisles are not blocked, and that warning signs are posted when cleanup work has left wet and slippery floors.
- Retirement Homes: Seniors living in nursing homes and other residential assisted living environments are particularly vulnerable to serious injury in a slip-and-fall accident. Nursing homes are responsible for the safety of their residents and part of that obligation is to make sure the community is clean and free from physical obstacles that could cause falls and resulting injuries.
- Work: Workplace slip and fall accidents are often covered by workers compensation. In some cases, a slip and fall accident lawyer will file legal action against an employer.
Proving Liability: Negligence vs. Carelessness
Defendants in slip and fall accident lawsuits often attempt to shift the blame for a fall that causes injures to the one injured. Insurance companies or property owners may claim that the carelessness or inattention of the victim caused the accident to avoid paying damages in the case. An experienced slip and fall lawyer from Cooney & Conway will help ensure that the interests of the injured individual and their family are well-represented to help prevent the owner from denying their responsibility.
The best way you can protect the rights of the injured is from documentation of the accident in detail immediately or as soon after the accident as possible. Some steps someone involved in a slip and fall accident can do to help their claim include:
- Taking several pictures of the dangerous area
- Speaking to witnesses of the fall, collect their information, and ask if they’d be willing to testify if needed
- Saving any evidence, including the shoes and clothing worn when the fall occurred, as they may contain residue from the substance that caused the fall or small pieces of debris that were in the area
- Photographing injuries immediately and in the following days after the accident, including documenting bruises, cuts, or breaks that occurred initially
Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Can Make a Difference in Victims’ Lives
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident or a loved one is killed by the negligence of others, it is crucial to assess all legal options after seeking proper medical treatment. An accident with serious injuries changes lives in ways victims and their families can never anticipate. Having the support of a professional personal injury lawyer who is compassionate, knowledgeable, and experienced in helping injured victims can make a major difference in the quality of life for victims and their loved ones.
To schedule an appointment with a slip and fall accident lawyer at the personal injury law firm of Cooney & Conway, complete the Free Case Evaluation form located on this page or call toll free at 800-322-5573 to speak with a knowledgeable representative.