When someone is injured after slipping and falling, many people assume that the accident was caused simply by the accident victims clumsiness. However, people who have been hurt in a slip and fall accident know that in many cases, the accident was not their fault at all. When someone slips in a puddle of water in a grocery store, or falls on an icy patch outside of a business or office building, the accident is not caused by the persons clumsiness or lack of coordination. Rather, the accident is caused by someone negligently failing to keep public walking surfaces clean, dry, and safe.
If you or a loved one was injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be wondering how you are going to pay for your medical bills, lost wages if you cannot work, and other damages you have suffered as a result of your accident. Our experienced Philadelphia slip and fall attorneys are here to help you with your case by determining who is legally responsible for your injuries, and by fighting to get you the compensation you deserve after your slip and fall accident.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents occur quite regularly. The CDC estimates that one out of five falls results in a serious injury, and that over 800,000 patients each year are hospitalized as a result of an injury from a fall.
The causes of these accidents are extremely varied. They can happen in just about any public setting, in any type of weather, and at any time. Any time a surface is wet, slippery, or uneven, a fall can easily occur. This is why these types of accidents are so common.
Many slip and fall accidents occur in grocery stores. If someone breaks or spills a liquid on the floor and it is not promptly cleaned up, someone can easily slip and fall if they step in the wet spot on the floor. Produce sections of grocery stores also occasionally have wet floors as damp produce is picked up and moved around. Additionally, because grocery stores must be kept extremely clean, slip and fall accidents can often occur if a floor was recently cleaned with water or soap but was not properly dried, or if the person cleaning the floors did not put up a Wet Floor sign to warn shoppers of the slick floor.
Of course, slip and fall accidents due to wet floors or cleaning supplies can occur in any kind of public place, from airports and office buildings to malls and retail stores. Whenever a floor has been recently cleaned, it may remain wet or slippery, and if customers are not warned of the potential hazards of walking on the cleaned floor via a Wet Floor sign or other warnings, they can easily suffer a slip and fall accident.
Another common cause of slip and fall accidents is bad weather conditions. Although property owners and businesses are not responsible for the weather, they are nonetheless responsible for keeping public walking surfaces clean and safe for customers and pedestrians. So if a parking lot is icy because the store owner failed to salt it, or if the floors in a lobby are wet and slippery because people are tracking in water from a rain storm outside, slip and fall accidents can easily occur.
Finally, even if the floors are not wet or slippery, accidents can occur if floors or walkways are uneven or obstructed by debris or other objects. These issues can cause customers and visitors to trip or lose their footing, which often causes them to fall. If accident victims were not warned about the dangers of the uneven or obstructed walkway, they can easily get hurt through no fault of their own.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Result from Slip and Fall Accidents?
Injuries from slip and fall accidents can range from fractured or broken bones, bruising, and sprains to head or brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis. Severe slip and fall accidents may even result in death — in fact, accidents from falls are the second leading cause of accidental deaths in the country.
Because most people who slip and fall instinctively try to catch themselves on the way down, it is common for slip and fall accident victims to suffer from broken bones or sprains in their hands and arms. If they fail to catch themselves, however, they may land in such a way that causes them to hit their heads, which in turn can cause a broken or fractured skull, concussions, or other brain trauma. Traumatic brain injuries can sometimes lead to lifelong medical issues, such as epilepsy, amnesia, or changes in the way you think and feel.
Additionally, slip and fall accident victims may fall in a way that twists or breaks their spine. Spine and spinal cord injuries are often extremely serious, because these injuries can cause nerve damage, loss of motor function, disabilities, paralysis, or even death. They often require extensive surgery and long term medical treatment.
It is very important to take these injuries seriously and to seek immediate medical attention after your accident. However, medical bills are often extremely expensive, even for those who have health insurance. In such cases, a slip and fall accident attorney can help you determine who is legally responsible for your injuries, so that you can be compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other damages that resulted from your accident.
Who Is Legally Responsible for Your Slip and Fall Accident?
Under the law of premises liability, business owners and property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises safe for clients, customers, and pedestrians. If these owners do not keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors, they are legally responsible for anything that happens to visitors while they are on the premises, including slip and fall accidents.
Keeping premises reasonably safe requires business and property owners to at least regularly inspect the premises and catch and repair any potential issues, such as uneven flooring or spills that were not properly cleaned up. They are also responsible for instructing their employees to keep premises reasonably safe. For instance, if a custodian cleans a floor, the business owner is responsible for ensuring that the custodian knows to put up a Wet Floor sign until the floor is dry and safe.
Unfortunately, it is occasionally difficult to determine who is legally responsible under premises liability law. It sometimes depends on who the business owner is, who owns the premises themselves, and who is responsible for performing routine inspections and training employees. Our experienced Philadelphia slip and fall accident lawyers are familiar with the complications of premises liability and can help determine who is legally liable for your injuries caused as a result of a slip and fall accident.
These individuals will be responsible for covering the damages you suffered as a result of your accident. This will include your medical bills, including any bills you incur after your initial treatment if you have to take medications or attend physical therapy long term. Damages can also include wages you have lost if your injuries kept you from returning to work, which is common for individuals who become disabled as a result of their slip and fall injuries. You may also experience pain and suffering and emotional trauma, for which the person responsible for your accident should also be held liable.
What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
The very first thing you should do after a slip and fall accident is to seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. You should do this even if you do not think you are hurt, because some injuries like concussions or fractures may not show immediate symptoms. Your medical records will also be needed to prove what damages you suffered as a result of your slip and fall accident.
As soon as you are able, you should then contact one of our experienced Philadelphia slip and fall accident attorneys. Our attorneys always provide free initial consultations and will meet with you at our office or at your home or hospital room if needed. And the sooner you contact us, the faster we can begin to work on your case and gather information needed to prove who was legally responsible for your accident. This may include speaking to witnesses, obtaining surveillance tapes, understanding who owned the business or property where your accident occurred, and collecting medical bills and other records that show the damages you suffered. Our attorneys have handled slip and fall cases for over twenty years and will have the knowledge and expertise you need to make sure your slip and fall accident does not become a financial burden for you and your family. Do not wait to contact our office and get in touch with a slip and fall accident lawyer.