At The Graham Firm, we have seen firsthand the devastating, far-reaching effects of slip and fall accidents. A fall can change your life dramatically in a split second, especially if you suffered a catastrophic injury such as a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury.
Accident victims often believe that a fall is their fault, but this is not always the case. If a property owner, business owner, or landowner was aware of a dangerous condition on a property and failed to prevent an accident, you may be eligible to be compensated. In addition, if a dangerous condition led to a fatal accident, surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim.
Of course, the ideal situation is to avoid an accident and fall injury completely. This blog post will explore the 5 most common slip and fall accidents and what you should do if you or a loved one are involved in an accident.
What Is A Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accidents are common when people slip, trip, or lose their balance while walking or going up or down stairs. When a property owner or business owner’s negligence caused or contributed to an accident, the victim may be able to seek compensation in a slip and fall accident claim. This area of law is known as premises liability law. Damages available may include medical care expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere - we have seen accidents occur at grocery stores, airports, hotels, shopping centers, college campuses, public schools and parks, and government buildings.
Fall accidents are especially concerning in older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 800,000 Americans are hospitalized each year for fall injuries, with head injuries and hip fractures being the most common injuries. People who fall often become fearful of falling, which may cause them to be less active. This can start a negative cyclical effect, as less active people become weaker and more likely to fall.
5 Most Common Slip and Fall Accidents
1. Wet Floors
Across the world, wet walking surfaces are the number one cause of accidents that involve slipping and falling. Wet floors can be encountered anywhere there is a leak - and businesses have a responsibility to identify and eliminate known hazards - so that foreseeable injury can be prevented.
Water is not the only liquid that can make a floor wet - in fact, many other liquids are far more dangerous than water. Common causes of wet and slippery floors are foods, grease and oil, and cleaners such as detergents, soaps, and floor polishes. If a property owner does not use the proper cleaning solution (type and amount) for the type of floor they have, the floor can become dangerously slippery.
2. Uneven Surfaces
A flooring surface can be clean and dry, but still hazardous if it is not flat. Uneven flooring surfaces can take many forms: chipped tile, wrinkled carpets, and cracks in sidewalks. Sidewalk cracks are common in areas where large trees are nearby, and roots cause severe tripping hazards.
Uneven floors and surfaces can be caused by a property owner’s failure to properly maintain floors or failure to warn visitors of an uneven surface at a property. Injuries caused by uneven floor slips and falls are often severe because the uneven surface is not seen before the fall occurs.
3. Ice and Snow
Ice and snow are predictable consequences of weather and businesses and property owners need to plan for them. Georgia does not have statutory laws regarding snow and ice removal. Typically, courts apply a reasonable care standard, which is the level of care that a reasonable person would exercise.
4. Poor Lighting
Inadequate or insufficient lighting can make an otherwise safe environment hazardous. Poor lighting conditions are common in parking garages and apartment buildings. Injuries from poor lighting falls include broken bones, facial and dental injuries, cuts and lacerations, and fall onto an outstretched hand (FOOSH) injuries.
5. Clutter and Obstacles
A cluttered area can be physically limiting and similar to uneven surface falls, accidents can occur before the victim has the opportunity to spot the hazard. Examples of clutter that can cause serious injuries include:
- Pallets and stocking materials left in store aisles
- Extension cords
- Empty bins and cardboard boxes
- Endcap displays with merchandise blocking an aisle.
If a property owner knows about a hazard or should have known about a hazard, they may be liable for resulting injuries. Because clutter can be quickly removed after an accident, preservation and documentation of evidence are critical.
What To Do After Slip and Fall Accident
There are four things accident victims should do following a slip and fall accident:
- Report the incident: Accidents must be reported so there is documented proof your accident occurred. If the property owner or business owner was not present when your accident occurred, it is important that you notify them before you leave the premises. Ask for a copy of any prepared report so you can provide it to your personal injury attorney.
- Preserve Evidence: It is rare for police or law enforcement to respond to a slip and fall accident. Because there will likely be no report written, it is up to the victim to preserve evidence. You should take photos or videos of the dangerous condition, and ask that any video surveillance footage be saved for you. You should get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. As mentioned above - the hazard that caused your accident can be quickly cleaned up, it can even melt or dry up naturally.
- Get Medical Attention: If you suffered an injury, you should go to the emergency room to get evaluated as soon as you can. Your medical treatment history documents your personal injury claim and is an important piece of evidence. If you failed to get medical care and then later say you were injured, the insurance company may question the severity of your injuries.
- Talk to a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer: Do not speak with an insurance company representative before you speak with a lawyer. The sooner you contact The Graham Firm, the sooner we can review your case and determine if you have a valid claim for compensation.
How Can A Slip and Fall Lawyer at The Graham Firm Help?
The Graham Firm fights for victims of slip and fall accidents in Marietta GA, Griffin GA, and surrounding areas. We can help you after an accident by answering your questions and explaining your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.