Slip and fall accidents are more common than some people realize. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls make up more than eight million emergency rooms visits each year, with slip and falls representing 12%, or over one million of those trips.
Effects from these slip and fall incidents can vary widely, depending on the conditions and the age and physical condition of the involved party. Older people are at a greater risk for falling, and typically sustain more serious injuries than someone who is younger and in better health.
There a number of hazards that can cause slip and fall accidents. These include:
One of the biggest hazards with slip and fall accidents is potentially dangerous surface conditions. These hazardous conditions can include:
● Recently waxed or mopped floors
● Uneven surfaces that have no warning signs
● Torn carpeting
● Potholes in parking lots or on sidewalks
● Loose floorboards or torn carpeting
● Rugs or mats that come loose, especially on stairs
● Spilled liquids or products that break
● Grease or oil spills that are not cleaned up or mitigated through proper signage
Weather is another cause of hazards that can contribute to a slip and fall accident. Rain, snow, and ice can make walkways and roadways dangerous. When the weather is bad, it’s not uncommon for people to track water into buildings on their shoes, jackets, umbrellas, etc. Property owners will need to inspect and clean their facilities more regularly during inclement weather, while municipalities will need to shovel sidewalks, salt walkways, plow streets, etc.
Debris or trash left on the floor can create a hazard that someone slips on. Exposed cords across the floor can create another risk for a potential fall. Some stores use bright lights that cause a reflection, making it hard to spot a slippery floor, while poor lighting makes it easy to miss an obstacle in your path. Seams in floors or transitions between flooring types can cause someone to lose their balance and fall.
Cabinets and drawers left open could cause someone to strike themselves and fall down. A lack of handrails on a staircase or an unsecured ladder also present an increased risk for falling. Some people like to use a chair in place of a ladder, which is never a good idea, as it’s very easy to fall, especially if the chair has wheels.
Sometimes the cause of a slip and fall accident is related to the type of shoes the claimant was wearing at the time of the fall. It doesn’t need to be high heels either. Work boots and even athletic shoes that don’t’ provide proper traction can result in an increased risk of a slip and fall.
Some types of occupations tend to see more falls. These include:
● Construction workers
● Factory workers
● Chefs and other kitchen personnel
● Housekeepers and janitorial staff
● Other types of manual laborers
A lack of training at work can also increase the risk of falls. Companies that require employees to walk on slippery surfaces should have proper training, otherwise the employer could be held liable for workplace injuries resulting from a slip and fall.
Nursing and Transitional Care Units
With older people being at an increased risk of falling, it’s imperative for medical staff to be attentive and ensure they are assisting patients who are moving around. Nursing home neglect is a country wide problem and the facility could be held liable if someone falls and injures themselves.
While most slip and fall claims are real claims, there is a small percentage that are fraudulent. In some cases, a person has schemed to create the hazardous condition, like dropping something on the floor in a grocery store. They will spill liquid then come back around a short time later where they stage a purposeful fall in an attempt to receive a financial settlement from the store.
In other fraudulent scenarios, someone may have had a legitimate fall, but it might’ve occurred at home. They later claim it happened in a store or something, or a fall might have never happened at all.
Fraudulent cases are the reason most insurers and defense attorneys look at any slip and fall as suspicious. This makes it difficult for claimants with legitimate claims and real injuries to be treated fairly.
Importance of Retaining an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney
Because slip and falls are treated with skepticism, retaining the right attorney is key. You want a Northern California slip and fall attorney who has a proven track record of handling these types of claims. At Wakeford Gelini, we have successfully litigated and settled countless slip and fall cases. Contact us at 415-578-3510 to schedule a consultation in our conveniently located San Francisco or Marin County offices.