“I’m a klutz,” you may hear someone say after they stumble while walking. However, slip and fall accidents are not always the fault of the victim. Under many different circumstances, the injury could be due to poor design or maintenance of a walking surface (mostly floors, sidewalks, parking lots and stairs). A person injured due to the fault of the building owner or manager, or a municipality that fails to provide a safe environment, may be eligible to receive financial compensation for the injuries through a premises liability lawsuit.
Slip and fall accidents can be quite serious — even deadly. The National Safety Council says that falls cause 8.9 million visits to emergency rooms every year and reports that approximately 25,000 people die annually from trip and fall accidents. Safety engineers break down the major categories of different types of falls due to premises hazards as follows:
- Slip-and-fall: The walker loses balance because the shoe cannot grip the floor, typically due to slipperiness (water on granite, cooking oil on linoleum, etc.).
- Step-and-fall: Someone trips due to a hole (for example, a pothole), a loose step on a staircase or some other dangerous footing.
- Trip-and-fall: A foreign (unexpected) object in the path causes the walker to stumble and hit a knee, hand, shoulder or head on the hard surface below.
- Stump-and-fall: A sticky surface catches the walker’s foot and causes a face-first tumble.
Anyone who has had a trip/slip/step/stump fall on public or private property should have the accident investigated immediately. Typically, a premises accident lawyer who has accident forensic investigators would conduct the investigation.
When an accident leads to healthcare expenses, ongoing therapy, disability or lost time from work, the owner or manager of the property where the fall occurred should cover the expenses. This type of negligence is unacceptable. You should always contact an experienced premises liability attorney.