Slips, trips, and falls are among the most frequently reported accidents in this country and can happen in any home, place of business or other locations. Anyone who suffers injuries may file a premises lawsuit against a property owner who did not fulfill their duty of taking reasonable precautions against falls.
Slip and fall types
Slips occur when a person loses their footing and balance. A person trips when they lose their balance because their foot, leg or body hits a fixed object.
A slip or trip can cause a fall. Falls may also occur because a guardrail, handhold or other support is missing or fails.
Falls were the largest cause of injuries in this country in 2017 and the third highest cause of fatal injuries. According to the National Safety Council, almost 8.6 million people were injured, and another 36,000 people died from falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 800,000 people are hospitalized yearly from these injuries.
Almost one in every five falls causes a head injury, broken bone, or other serious injury. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury and were responsible for over 95 percent of hip fractures. Almost one in four people 65 and older fall each year.
Falls cost over $50 billion in medical bills for consumers and taxpayers in 2015.
Most falls have a combination of causes. These may include the floor or ground, but a person’s age, health and other factors may be involved. Other common causes involve:
- Slippery surfaces.
- Rain, sleet, or snow.
- Inadequate lighting.
- Uneven or damaged floors and steps.
- Inadequate stair railings.
- Rugs, mats, or runners.
- Poorly designed public areas.
- Path or walkway obstructions.
Proper housekeeping and maintenance and fast response to spills or leaks help reduce falls. Warning signs or floor markings at businesses or other public areas can warn people about slippery floors and other risks. Eliminating or marking obstructions may prevent tripping. Proper lighting helps illuminate potential hazards.
Almost three of every four falls take place at or nearby home. Moving furniture, cords, rugs, and toys are obvious remedies. Other precautions include installation of brighter lights, eliminating clutter, installing rails on both sides of stairs, and adding grab bars around bathroom fixtures.
Homeowners can take other preventions:
- Adding non-slip strips to wooden stair steps.
- Arranging furniture with ample room for walking.
- Immediately cleaning up spills.
- Eliminating electrical cords, throw rugs or other tripping hazards.
- Well-illuminated stairs, hallways, and outdoor spaces.
- Keeping walkways and steps smooth and puddle-free.
Slip-and-fall lawsuits are the third most common personal injury lawsuit filed in state courts. Attorneys can help victims seek compensation for these injuries.