Trip and fall accidents occur when a hazardous object or condition causes a person to trip and fall down. These accidents happen all the time and can lead to serious injuries. While some people are fortunate only to sustain cuts and bruises from a fall, others are not so lucky and can suffer serious injuries including concussions, fractures, and even death.
In addition to painful injuries, individuals who are hurt in trip and fall accidents can suffer financial and emotional damage as well. Fortunately, many victims of trip and fall accidents can recover compensation for the damages that they incur in a premises liability case.
Injuries caused by Trip & Fall Accidents
When a trip and fall accident occurs on someone else’s property, the owner or manager of that property may be held liable for any injuries sustained from the accident. This is known as premises liability. Like slip and fall accidents, individuals involved in trip and fall accidents can suffer serious injuries resulting in both physical and financial damages. As a result, when a person is injured in a trip and fall accident that was caused by the negligence of others, he or she may be able to recover compensation for any damages suffered as a result of the accident. That being said, many factors such as the cause of the accident and the location of the accident will affect whether or not a person can successfully recover compensation.
Effect on your life:
Tripping and falling can be a very serious incident, many people have their lives changed by a trip and fall injury. There are many dangerous conditions like torn carpeting, changes in flooring, poor lighting, narrow stairs, or a wet floor can cause someone to slip and be injured. Same goes if someone trips on a broken or cracked public sidewalks, or falls down a flight of stairs. In addition, a slip and fall case might arise when someone slips or falls outdoors because of rain, ice, snow or a hidden hazard, such as a pothole in the ground. In any event, the plaintiff must have sustained some kind of injury, however minor, in order to collect.
Common Trip-And-Fall Hazards
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 20 to 30 percent of people involved in fall accidents suffer moderate to severe injuries. Falls most commonly cause broken bones, but they can also cause catastrophic injuries such as TBI and spinal cord injuries.
The National Safety Council (NSC) says the risk of falling and the medical problems that arise from fall-related injuries are a serious issue. The NSC warns property owners to take the time to remove slip, trip and fall hazards.
Common locations for falls include:
- Slippery floors due to wetness from spills or tracked in rain, mud, snow, sleet, etc., or naturally slick surfaces like stone or glass
- Cluttered hallways, aisles and other walkways
- Staircases and ramps, including stairways with broken or loose stair treads or handrails
- Uneven surfaces, such as torn or bunched carpet, uneven bricks or paving stones, potholes, etc.
- Unstable surfaces, such as floors with loose or broken tiles, floorboards, area rugs, etc.
- Poorly lit areas
- Ladders and scaffolding
What causes a slip and fall accident?
In a word: negligence.
Slips, trips and falls are quite prevalent and are most common in public and work places. The worst of these kind of accidents can prove to be fatal but they can also lead to head injuries, back injuries, fractures and in the worst cases, paralysis.
Unlike other claims such as road traffic accident claims, these can be somewhat difficult to make, especially as collecting evidence can be quite daunting. Moreover, in some cases, especially if the accident occurred on the street, it’s hard to determine who to make the claim against.
How and where do most slips, trips, and falls occur?
Slips will occur mostly in places where the surface is still wet or is a slippery surface. In work places, this may be due to negligence, especially if it’s a wet floor that was not properly cleaned and dried. Appropriate signs are provided to indicate wet surfaces and as such, a company may be liable for any accidents that occur as a result of not applying the required safety procedures.
Falls are 100% Preventable
Whether working from a ladder, roof or scaffolding, it’s important to plan ahead, assess the risk and use the right equipment. First, determine if working from a height is absolutely necessary or if there is another way to do the task safely.
- Discuss the task with coworkers and determine what safety equipment is needed
- Make sure you are properly trained on how to use the equipment
- Scan the work area for potential hazards before starting the job
- Make sure you have level ground to set up the equipment
- If working outside, check the weather forecast; never work in inclement weather
- Use the correct tool for the job, and use it as intended
- Ensure stepladders have a locking device to hold the front and back open
- Always keep two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on the ladder
- Place the ladder on a solid surface and never lean it against an unstable surface
- A straight or extension ladder should be 1 foot away from the surface it rests on for every 4 feet of height and extend at least 3 feet over the top edge
- Securely fasten straight and extension ladders to an upper support
- Wear slip-resistant shoes and don’t stand higher than the third rung from the top
- Don’t lean or reach while on a ladder, and have someone support the bottom
- Never use old or damaged equipment; check thoroughly before use
Statistics, Causes, and Facts
Statistics show that slip and fall injuries are no laughing matter, yet on the positive side, only one in five falls results in a serious injury. On the other hand, slipping and falling generate more than eight million emergency room visits annually, accounting for more than 20 percent of all visits. Slip and fall accidents are problematic in the workplace, in public places like shopping malls, and at private residences alike, and as such, these accidents all fall under the general legal category of premises liability. Some of the recent statistics about this type of accident tell a dramatic tale:
- Most traumatic brain injuries are the result of falling.
- More than 800,000 adults over age 65 are hospitalized each year for injuries from falls, primarily hip fractures or head injuries.
- On average, a typical serious fall injury costs $30,000 or more.
- Five percent of slip and fall accidents cause broken bones.
- Falls account for the majority of time lost from work due to accidents.
- With each decade, a person’s risk of slip and fall injuries rises.
- Most slip and fall accidents occur on a single level rather than from an elevation.
Additionally, people over the age of 65 are at higher risk for slipping and falling than younger individuals. Other conditions that heighten your risk of this type of accident include
- Weakness in the legs
- Balance problems
- Poor vision
- Deficiency of vitamin D
- Inappropriate or painful shoes
- Use of some prescription medications
If any of these conditions are apparent, they may provide the liable party’s attorneys with an opportunity to try to reduce their client’s legal responsibility for your accident. However, by taking proactive steps to mitigate your risk of a slip and fall, you put yourself in a stronger position, both physically and legally, should an accident occur. For example, staying fit through physical training helps with your lower body strength, and you can improve and maintain your balance through activities such as yoga and tai chi. In addition, if you have poor vision, be sure to wear corrective lenses whenever you leave home.
Injuries in a Slip and Fall Accident:
The following are some of the most common types of injuries victims experience after a slip and fall accident:
- Sprained ankles. As your foot slides along the floor, it falls out of alignment with your leg, putting a strain on the ankle joint. The extreme forces this pressure generates can damage ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones in the ankle, leading to an injury that prevents you from walking unassisted for many weeks or months.
- Sprained wrists. As people fall back after a slip, they naturally extend their hands behind them to break their fall. The wrist, therefore, has to bear the brunt of the majority of the impact. A sprained wrist is a severe injury because it often prevents the affected individual from working or leading a fulfilling life.
- Shoulder dislocation. Slip and fall accidents also frequently lead to shoulder dislocation. When people reach out to break their fall, they often rotate the shoulder into a position that puts it at a mechanical disadvantage. The impact then transmits force through the arm to the joint, which can cause muscle strain and dislocation. Many people with this kind of injury require immediate surgery.
- Brain injury. Often, people who slip and fall, hit their heads on the ground, leading to brain injury. Traumatic head injuries are incredibly dangerous and can, on occasion, be life-threatening. What’s more, because traumatic brain injuries can alter cognitive function, the victim is often unaware that their capacities have changed.
- Spine and nerve damage. The spine and surrounding nerves are delicate. Slip and fall injuries can compress the spine and damage the surrounding nerve, sometimes leading to permanent loss of motor function to some parts of the body.
Other type of injuries:
- Limb fractures. When a person falls forward, they instinctively put their arms out to break their fall. Many people involved in trip and fall accidents, therefore, experience limb fractures, especially if they are elderly.
- Neck injuries. It is common for a victim to tell a trip and fall attorney that they have a neck injury, following a trip and fall accident. As a person falls, they use their arms break the impact on the body. The head, however, continues to move towards the ground, and the neck must take the brunt of the force.
- Foot injuries. Trip and fall accidents often lead to foot and ankle injuries, especially if the foot gets caught as the person falls over. All of a sudden, their entire weight pivots around the ankle joint in a biomechanically dangerous way.
- Cuts and abrasions. Slip and fall accidents can lead to cuts and abrasions, but damage to the skin is usually worse with trip and fall events. In slip and fall injuries, the majority of the force of impact gets transmitted through the hip and side of the body. Any damage is usually internal. With trip and fall, however, the risk of grazing skin and wounds is much higher, especially on the knees, elbows, and palms of the hands. The good news is that cuts and abrasion injuries are often relatively simple to treat. After sterilizing the wound, medical professionals may offer stitches or leave the damage to heal naturally.
- Broken finger bones. In trip and fall accidents, the hands tend to take the brunt of the force of impact. It is common, therefore, for victims to experience broken finger bones after a fall. Medical professionals usually repair fractures of small hand bones by placing the injured finger in a cast and using the surrounding fingers as a brace. Broken fingers can make it impossible for a broad swathe of people to work, especially manual laborers and typists.
- Thumb sprains. Thumb injuries are common after a trip and fall accident. As the person hits the ground, the force of the impact pushes the thumb backward behind the hand, damaging the delicate tendons and ligaments that hold it in place.
What to do when the Accident Occurs?
Step 1: Seek Medical Treatment
The first step is to seek medical treatment. As we discussed in the statistics above, a fall can be a life-threatening event.
Seeking medical treatment allows you to get the treatment you need and create an official doctors’ records of events that you may be able to use later to support any legal action you take.
Step 2: Report the Incident
Slip and fall/trip and fall incidents can happen anywhere. Common locations include in the workplace, on commercial premises, at somebody’s house, or in a public space, like a sidewalk or park. Always record the location of the incident and report it to the landlord, manager, or supervisor. Request that they create a written report of the event, detailing what happened.
Step 3: Collect Witness Information
Did anyone see your slip, trip, and fall accident? If so, you may need to rely on their witness testimony at a later date if you decide to make a claim. Collect essential contact information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and names, as this information may help you in the future.
It can also help if you take a contemporaneous picture of where the slip, trip, or fall took place so that you can document the situation. A slip and fall attorney can provide more guidance on this if you are unsure.
Step 4: Do Not Make Any Statements
This one might seem a little strange, but it is a good idea to decline to make any statements to the landlord or manager until you have spoken to a trip and fall lawyer. Don’t talk about what happened to you on social media and don’t given any statements to insurance companies until you’ve spoken to an attorney. If you say the wrong thing, you could jeopardize your chances of making a successful claim.
Step 5: Contact Your Attorney
If you are considering legal action, the best person to have on your side is an experienced slip and fall attorney who understands the legal landscape concerning slip and fall/trip and fall accidents.
Many slip, trip, and fall accidents can be complex cases requiring specialist legal expertise. At Shiner Law Group, we have a vast array of talented legal professionals ready to take on your case. With us, you don’t have to handle your situation by yourself. You can get the compensation that you deserve for the injuries that you have sustained. Make sure that you contact us today to explore your rights and options.
What is my case worth?
In a slip and fall case, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills, if expected
- Loss of wages from work
- Future loss of wages from work, if expected
- Lost earning power if your injury rendered you unable to work at a former job, forced you to take a lower-paying position, or left you unable to work at all
- Physical pain and suffering directly caused by the injury
- Emotional pain and suffering from trauma related to the slip and fall or the injury
- Permanent effects of an injury, such as disfigurement, impairment, or disability
As with any compensation claim including slip, trips, or falls, the amount of compensation awarded will be entirely dependent on your own unique injuries and accident. Our solicitors would also take into account if you’ve had to take sick leave due to your slip, trip, or fall accident, what expenses you’ve incurred as a direct result of the injury that may include home or vehicle adaptions or modifications and various other factors. All of these elements will be factored in when calculating your claim.
The drop-down compensation checker below however does contain average compensation amounts for injuries one might suffer as a result of a slip, trip or fall accident. Although it provides a general estimation of compensation amounts for slips, trips, and fall claims, for a more accurate claim evaluation we’d advise speaking with our accident claims solicitors. Our experienced Houston slip and fall lawyers know how to properly evaluate your claim so that you get the compensation you deserve under the law.
Theories of Liability in Slip and Fall Cases
In order to hold another party responsible for injuries suffered in a slip and fall accident, an injured person must typically prove one of the following:
- A property owner (or an employee or agent of the property owner) should have recognized a dangerous condition (i.e. a pothole or an uneven walking surface) and removed or repaired the potential danger, but failed to do so. The key question here is whether a reasonable person would have identified the condition as hazardous, and whether the defendant had ample opportunity to remedy the situation before the accident occurred.
- A property owner (or their employee) actually caused the dangerous condition leading to the slip and fall accident—by leaving a hazardous obstacle in a walking path, for example—and it was reasonably foreseeable that someone would trip and fall due to the condition.
’Reasonable’ Property Owners
In addition to dangerous conditions that went negligently unattended, a slip & fall case requires proving that the property owner didn’t act as a reasonable property owner would. A reasonable property owner would have a plan in place to efficiently and comprehensively address any and all dangerous conditions so that no one gets hurt. A negligent property owner, however, fails to do this and potentially creates conditions in which people hurt, leaving them saddled with medical bills, lost wages, and upended lives.
With all of that in mind, your attorney and his or her team will seek to answer the following questions as they investigate your slip & fall claim:
- Did the hazardous area exist long enough for the property owner to be aware of it?
- Is there a standard procedure in place for examining the premises, and did the owner have proof of this procedure?
- Was there a legitimate reason for the area to be hazardous, such as a slippery floor after being washed?
- If there is a reason for the area to be hazardous, was there any way to make it safer?
- If an object caused the slip, trip, or fall, was there anywhere else the object could have been stored to make the premises safer?
- Could a warning sign or barrier have been created to prevent injury?
What if the store owner isn’t around?
Property owners, renters, or occupants are generally responsible for making sure that their public premises are reasonably safe. However, owners, renters, and occupants are not often available. Sometimes, a store employee may be the only individual present when your slip and fall accident occurs. Furthermore, managers and other employees are often the people who first notice a condition that could potentially cause someone to slip and be injured.
Property owners, renters, and occupants, however, are responsible for training their employees to understand the safety standards, scheduled upkeep and maintenance procedures, and protocol for warning patrons of unsafe conditions. An absent store owner is no excuse for a violation of the duty of care.
Do I need to file a claim within a certain time period?
Yes. In Texas, there is a time period within which injured parties must file any suit(s) against defendants who caused the victim’s injuries. Generally, that time limit is two years from the date of the injury. This time frame is referred to as a statute of limitations. Time is of the essence – after the statute of limitations passes, it is highly unlikely that a court will hear your case at all.
Holding the Property Owner Responsible
Property owners are required by Texas law to keep their properties safe and well-maintained. If a dangerous condition causes a customer or visitor to slip or fall, and that fall causes injury, the property owner may be held legally responsible for your damages. It is necessary to establish the negligence or responsibility of the property owner to secure compensation for your slip and fall injury.
In order to help you win your case, we will:
- Thoroughly investigate your case
- Establish the property owner’s negligence
- Locate the cause of the accident
- Get statements from witnesses
Our trip and fall accident lawyers in Texas have more than 20 years of experience and the legal knowledge needed to fight for fair compensation for your injury. We take the time to investigate your case to show that the property owner was at fault. Let us negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to ensure that you are appropriately compensated for your damages.
Hurt in a Slip, Trip, and Fall Accident? Get the Money You Deserve
Many accident victims are unsure whether they need an attorney to handle their case. Here are three ways our experienced slip, trip, and fall attorneys can help you:
- We will handle the confusing paperwork. Slip, trip, and fall cases are confusing and complex. Our experienced legal team will take care of all the details so you can focus on getting better.
- We will worry about the deadlines. People hurt in slip, trip, and fall accidents have only a limited time to file legal claims.
- We will treat you like a person, not a case number — and keep you posted about your case in language you can understand.
Do not get stuck paying medical bills from an accident caused by somebody else. With us you’ll get experienced, successful legal professionals who have the resources to win your case. Your team will be with you from start to finish.
We are available 24/7. Call us today for a free case review. And remember, we will not charge unless we win your case.
Why to choose us?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall due to a hazardous condition on someone’s property, our Houston trip & fall lawyers will dedicate themselves to holding responsible property owners accountable to you and seeing that you get the medical care and financial compensation that your health requires and that justice demands.
You may deserve to be compensated for the damages that you have suffered. However, proving negligence can be difficult in a trip and fall case.
Fortunately, our experienced team led by David, is equipped with the knowledge necessary to successfully represent the rights of trip and fall accident victims in Texas. Contact us today for a free consultation on your legal options.
Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to recovering compensation for our clients who are suffering from trip and fall accidents.
Our team is led by David. We offer a FREE consultation, and we’re available to answer your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- 20 years’ experience specifically with trip and fall accidents’ cases, we possess a reputation to aggressively fight for our clients
- David and his team, having a long list of credentials, believe in respect, integrity, and family values.
- We will always be there for you!
- With decades of combined experience, David and his team will tirelessly work to recover as much as possible on your trip and fall accident claim.
- Trip and fall cases need to be solved very critically, they involve serious injuries, and require an experienced legal team.
- You do not need to pay us a single penny before we win your case.
We are committed to assist you with every aspect of your case. We are prepared to work with insurance companies and law enforcement to prove another driver’s fault, aggressively represent you in court and help you obtain the best results possible. We are here to fight for you, considering your goal ours.
Choose a lawyer with Expertise and Experience
Trip and fall accidents are very tricky to deal with and require a plenty of work over them. If you want to win a trip and fall case, there are three basic things that should be proven.
- That the party responsible for the premises knew or should have known of the dangerous condition.
- That the responsible party failed to fix or warn of the dangerous condition
- That the dangerous condition caused the injury
Unfortunately, the law in Texas tends to lean on the side of the business, rather than the side of the injured party. Further, a trip and fall injury typically results in some very specific and extremely serious physical injuries which may be different from your typical personal injury case. For this reason, you need an experienced trip and fall lawyer to help you navigate the obstacles of your claim and pursue your legal rights.