Slip & Fall Accident Lawyers
Slips and falls can lead to serious injuries. An experienced slip and fall accident lawyer will help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
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TERMS: Although we will provide a free evaluation of your potential claim, it is understood that this service does not establish an Attorney/Client relationship. Unless arrangements are made for further consultation and a formal retainer agreement is signed by both you and one of our attorneys, our firm cannot assume any responsibility for taking any steps necessary to properly pursue your potential claim. It is also understood that the evaluation you will receive is an opinion based upon the information provided and that there may be additional information not provided by you that may change that opinion.
What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall?
Slip and fall incidents may sound minor, but they are a serious cause of injury and death in the United States. According to the CDC, more than 40,000 people die in slip and fall incidents per year. If you or someone you love has been involved in a slip and fall, you’ll want to make sure you get medical attention immediately. Right after, however, you’ll want to speak to an experienced accident attorney.
An experienced accident lawyer can give you expert advice on the best actions to take (and avoid) right after a slip and fall accident. Some common tips include:
- Say No to Settlement Offers: Just like other types of accidents, aggressive insurance companies, organizations, and individuals may attempt to offer you a small upfront settlement. Avoid accepting this at all costs, as it may severely limit your ability to get future compensation during settlement negotiations or at a jury trial.
- Avoiding Admit Fault: No matter what may have actually happened before or during the slip and fall incident, it’s best to avoid admitting fault. Just like accepting a settlement early on, saying “sorry” after an accident may reduce your chance of getting the maximum possible compensation for your injuries.
- Don’t Trust Your Insurance Company: While insurance companies are supposed to advocate for their clients, not all do. In these situations, it’s important to remember that your insurance company is likely a for-profit institution. This means that their goal is to pay you as little as possible after an accident or injury.
Your attorney may also want you to take photos or videos of the area in which the slip and fall incident occurred. This can be used as evidence later on in the settlement or trial process.
You should always consult with an experienced attorney after a slip and fall. However, when it comes to getting compensation for a slip and fall accident, knowledge is power. This page was designed to educate you about some of the basic things you should know about slip and fall incidents, and how to protect your rights.
This page answers questions including:
- How common are slip and fall accidents?
- What should I know about general slip and falls?
- What should I know about elderly slip and falls?
- What should I know about workplace slip and falls?
- What are the most common injuries from slip and falls?
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How Common are Slip and Fall Incidents?
The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) says that fall incidents lead to more than 8 million hospital visits each year in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 3 million of those treated for slip and fall injuries are elderly. Of those 3 million, more than 800,000 require more serious hospitalization. with over 800,000 ending up hospitalized as a result of their injuries.
The major types of slip and fall incidents include:
- General slip and falls
- Elderly slip and falls
- Workplace slip and falls
What are the Most Common Injuries From Slip and Falls?
While there are a wide variety of injuries a victim may experience due to a slip and fall incident, some of the most common include:
- Soft-Tissue Injuries, Cuts, and Scrapes: Scrapes, cuts, bruises, and abrasions are the most common form of injury experienced by slip and fall victims. These injuries can seem insignificant, but may often be the sign of something more serious. For instance, a minor cut on the head could really be evidence of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Unfortunately, this may only start impacting the victim weeks or months after the incident. In other scenarios, cuts could get infected, leading to serious medical problems.
- Spinal Injuries: Spinal cord injuries are a rare, but serious symptom of slip and falls. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are about 18,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries per year. Unfortunately, slip and falls are the second most common reason for spinal cord injuries, with car, truck, and motorcycle accidents being the most common cause. While some spinal injuries are minor, many involve some sort of paralysis, such as paralysis of the legs (paraplegia) or paralysis of each four limbs (quadriplegia). Depression, anxiety, and PTSD can be additional side effects of spinal-injury-related paralysis. In addition to the physical and emotional impact of a spinal injury, spinal injuries are incredibly expensive, with the Christopher Reeve Foundation estimating that many paralysis cases cost victims between $500,000 and $1 million in the first year alone.
- Broken Bones: Just like other types of accidents, slip and falls can often lead to broken bones, especially among the elderly. Broken bones can take weeks or months to heal, and can lead to both short-term disabilities and long-term pain and suffering. The cost of broken bone treatment is also higher than many might expect, with many emergency room visits costing between $5,000 and $40,000.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: If an accident victim hits their head during a slip and fall, it could result in a Traumatic brain injury (TBI). CDC data tells us that more than 1.5 million Americans experience a TBI every year, leading to approximately 61,000 deaths. Traumatic brain injury symptoms can range widely, from memory problems and cognitive issues, to headaches, anxiety, and even PTSD.
What Should I Know About General Slip and Falls?
Many cases of slip and falls occur either among the elderly or in work-related environments. However, slip and falls can also occur in homes, private businesses or even on public property. According to Florida law, property owners need to keep their property relatively risk-free, particularly if they believe that customers, strangers, or large groups of people may congregate on or near their property.
If a property owner does understand the risks and still fails to fix their property, then they may be liable for any damages that visitors or customers experience. In order to achieve a viable case, however, it must be proven that the owner or operator/occupier of the property did control the property at the time of the accident.
This can get tricky in some situations. For instance, if someone fell in an apartment building, it would likely be the renter’s fault if the injury happened inside the unit. However, if the fall occurred in a shared area, like a staircase or hallway the property owner maintained, then they would likely be liable for any damages.
Premise Slips and Falls
When discussing slip and fall in the context of premises liability law, there are three types of individuals that could become injured on a property:
- Trespassers: Trespassers are people who enter a property even though they are not allowed. As one might expect, property owners or occupiers face the least liability when faced with the injury of a trespasser. In most cases, a property owner or occupier will have to be severely negligent or actively harmful in order for a trespasser to push for damages.
- Licensees: A licensee has an implied permission to enter or use a property. A houseguest would generally be considered a licensee. In order to be held liable for injuries to a licensee, the owner or occupant must have known about a dangerous situation and failed to fix it, even though they had the time and the abilities to do so.
- Invitees: Invitees include anyone who is paid to enter the property, such as a maintenance worker, landscaper, housekeeper, electrician, plumber, or home health aide. An invitee also includes most people who enter public lands. This, however, is provided that they generally follow all rules and regulations regarding use of the land for the public. For example, entering government-owned land where the public is not allowed would be trespassing, not an invitation. Defendants who invite people to their property generally owe them a higher “affirmative” standard of safety.
What Should I Know About Elderly Slips and Falls?
Unfortunately, Florida, with a significant population and a large community of elderly people, experiences a large amount of slip and fall incidents. According to some reports, around 10% of injury-causing slip and fall incidents happen in Florida, leading to about 3,000 deaths per year. Sadly, if an elderly person has fallen, they are twice as likely to experience a second fall in the near future.
Sadly, slip and fall incidents involving elderly people may also be part of the larger epidemic of elder abuse. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), nearly 10% of all Americans 65+ experience some form of abuse. In many cases, this abuse is perpetrated at the very places intended to care for older adults, such as hospitals, assisted living centers, nursing homes, or memory care centers.
While some elder abuse is purely psychological or emotional, other forms of abuse can become physical. An abusive aide could push or shove an elderly person in a moment of anger, or could even punch, kick, or sexually assault them, leading to a serious slip and fall.
More often however, elderly people at these facilities end up severely neglected, and the conditions of the facility may end up conducive to slip and falls. Common facility negligence situations include:
- Wet flooring
- Unclean areas
- Broken or missing handrails
- Lack of appropriate toilet or shower facilities
- Simply failing to supervise patients or residents.
Unlike a private property owner, who is held to a looser liability standard, and simply responsible for keeping a safe environment, eldercare facilities are held to the more stringent standard of “strict liability.” This means that they owe what’s called a “duty of care” to their residents, meaning that they are responsible not only for potential accidents, but for their residents or patients’ overall well-being.
What Should I Know About Workplace Slips and Falls?
If you’ve experienced a slip and fall injury at work, your employer’s insurance company is likely to approach with a workers comp settlement. Like other types of settlements, avoid taking it (or signing any related paperwork). Workers comp generally provides victims the minimal potential settlement amount and is typically only designed to pay for immediate injuries, not long-term care.
Many construction injuries are slip and falls, though slip and falls also occur commonly among mechanical and manufacturing workers, as well as maintenance workers, housekeepers, and other tradespeople (think electricians or plumbers).
It’s important to realize that workplace slip and fall liability cases are different from general premises liability cases. Some legal interpretations would consider a workplace accident victim an “invitee” of their employer, even if they are conducting work-related duties off the employer’s property. In fact, employers can be held liable for injuries related to “unavoidable work conditions” (such as operating machinery or lifting heavy objects), not just simple negligence.
If you’ve slipped and fallen at work and sustained injuries, your attorney may be able to get you compensation related to:
- Medical Costs: unlike workers comp, a settlement agreement or jury trial may be able to help you win damages related to your long-term health. For instance, if you discover you need surgery or long-term therapy after an accident, you may be able to recover damages to pay for it.
- Employment or Reemployment Training: In Florida, workers comp laws generally require policies to cover about 6 months of wage benefits to allow a worker to get new training. However, if you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, you may need more time to recover and gain new on-the-job skills.
- Disability and lost wage coverage: Workers comp can pay out large lost wage disability settlements if you are permanently and fully disabled, but what if you’re only partially disabled? An experienced attorney can help push for the compensation you need to recover from your injuries while, at the same time, recovering part or all of your lost wages.
- Future earnings: Workers comp insurance does provide up to 2 years of wage coverage for the partially disabled, but this still may not be enough to compensate you for your loss of earning potential, particularly if you are only partially disabled.
If You’ve Experienced a Slip and Fall, Contact Gallagher & Hagopian Today!
If you’re the victim of a slip and fall accident, you don’t have to face your physical and financial challenges alone. An experienced accident attorney can help take care of the details of your case, giving you the time to heal.
At Gallagher & Hagopian, we’ve won over $100 million in accident settlements for our clients, and we are ready and waiting to fight for your rights. We will do everything in our power to get you the maximum possible financial compensation for your injuries.
Don’t wait– call us today for a free consultation.