What is a Slip and Fall Injury?

A slip and fall is a personal injury where a person slips or trips on another persons or business property and is injured as a result. Known as “premises liability” claims, they include injuries which occur at a store, a residence, or on any other premises. It is important to understand the nuances of slip and fall injuries as they relate to State tort laws which govern how an injured Plaintiff can recover compensation for their injuries and how liability is imposed. There are a number of rules depending on State law.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries

Liquids on floors create the perfect situation for slip and falls. Oil, dust, grease, or drilling fluid can cause slippery conditions. Additionally, leaking refrigerators or coolers can make surfaces slippery. Cold conditions can create ice, snow, or rain resulting in very slippery conditions. Poor lighting, glare, or shadows which create dangerous conditions can also cause slip and falls. Finally, loose mats, rugs, and torn carpet can also create unsafe conditions resulting in a slip and fall. In certain cases, the slip and fall injury may be caused by poor maintenance or negligence on behalf of the property owner, business, or occupant of the premises. This might include water left on floors without adequate warnings or general disrepair creating dangerous conditions for patrons or visitors on the property.

Slip and Fall Injury Statistics and Demographics

Over 8 million emergency room visits to the hospital are caused by slip and falls. They are the second leading cause of deaths and the third for workplace disabilities. Home slip and falls account for 50% of all accidental fatalities. The most common injuries are fractures which occur in 5% of the people who fall. As to prevalence, the elderly are more susceptible to slip and falls. As they age, poor vision, reduced muscle mass, and inattention are factors contributing to this age group. One in three persons over 65 will experience a trip and fall. According to the CDC in 2015, more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of a fall.

Common Locations for Slip and Falls

Slip and fall injuries can happen almost anywhere but there are a number of places where they happen more frequently. For example, the most common places slip and falls happen include:

  1. Grocery stores, supermarkets and other retail stores: One of the reasons slip and falls are so common in these places is because there often can be spills or wet produce sections and maintaining the floor quickly, promptly, without a slip and fall incident takes vigilance.
  2. Restaurants and dining establishments: Similar to grocery stores, restaurants have a higher incidence of slip and fall accidents because there can be grease, water, food spills or other hazardous conditions that are part and parcel of running a restaurant.
  3. Hotels and resorts: Particularly where there are pools, decks and wet bathrooms can present a heightened risk of a slip and fall injury. Anywhere where there’s been a lot of foot traffic and water can present a significant increase in slip and fall accidents.
  4. Sidewalks, walkways and parking lots: Many people travel across these areas and they aren’t necessarily always maintained after heavy use. There can be uneven pavement, debris, ice and snow, or potholes that create hazardous conditions for those using these walkways.

Impact of Slip and Fall Injuries

As with any injury, physical injury can result from a slip and fall. Most of the time, the fall happens at an unexpected moment and catches the injured person off guard. This can only make the injury worse. The injuries sustained typically include: bruises, sprains, dislocations, cuts or lacerations, fractures, and serious head or spinal injuries. The injuries range from soft tissue injuries to serious bodily injury and even death. Treatment for these medical injuries can add a significant economic burden on the victim as well as substantial medical costs. Experiencing this type of trauma is both emotionally and psychologically damaging as well.

About the Authors: Sawan & Sawan is a multi-generational, family owned law firm practicing law in the areas of car accidents, truck accidents, and other personal injury. Our firm practices law in Ohio, Georgia, and Michigan.

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Dennis P. Sawan

Partner

Licensed in Ohio and Georgia

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Christopher A. Sawan

Partner

Licensed in Ohio and Michigan

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