Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
August 30, 2022
A Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Help Win Compensation
Slip and fall accidents can happen from a wide range of causes, anywhere, and at any time. The effects of these accidents can vary widely, causing anything from minor scratches and bruises to serious injuries including broken bones, brain and spinal cord injuries, and even death. Survivors of slip and fall accidents may face mounting medical expenses at a time they are unable to work, while dealing with emotional distress and physical pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been injured or someone has died as a result of a slip and fall accident due to someone else’s negligence, fault, or failure to maintain property or correct hazards, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses through insurance or a lawsuit. However, Pennsylvania laws are complicated; insurance companies will attempt to pay out as little as possible and property owners will often try to put the blame for the accident on you. They have attorneys on their side, so it is difficult to fight them on your own. To pursue fair compensation, you should work with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
The Pennsylvania slip and fall premises liability lawyer at Wapner Newman can take the burden off you by handling all legal hurdles involved with filing a lawsuit. Our legal team will aggressively fight to hold the negligent parties accountable and win a settlement that covers both your expenses and the pain and suffering from your injuries. We know what causes of slip and fall accidents and how to hold the negligent parties accountable to win the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Slip And Fall Accidents
Some slip and fall accidents may be due to carelessness, but most often they happen because someone was negligent and failed to maintain a property in safe condition. Property owners have a duty of care duty to maintain their property so that visitors are protected from undue harm. If property owners are negligent and fail to do so and someone falls and is injured as a result, the property owner can be held liable.
The following are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents:
Wet or uneven floors and sidewalks
When floors, sidewalks, walkways, or any other surface people walk on is not in good condition, slip and fall accidents often result. Dangerous conditions that can lead to accidents include:
- Wet, slippery, or icy surfaces with no warning signs or barriers
- Uneven, broken, or loose flooring, pavement, carpets, rugs or mats
- Spills that are not cleaned up
- Potholes in business parking lots or sidewalks
- Splashed food, drinks, grease or oil that is not cleaned up
- Recently waxed or polished floors
- Not using non-skid floor treatments when required.
Unsafe ladders and stairs
Ladders and stairs that are in hazardous and unsafe condition can easily lead to a slip and fall accident. Some examples include:
- Lack of or broken handrails
- Worn, broken, uneven, or warped steps
- Debris and trash left on stairs
- Slippery, waxed or polished stairs without non-skid surfaces
- Poor lighting on staircases
- Ladders propped up or not secured or placed on uneven surfaces
- Using a chair or other furniture instead of a ladder.
Improper custodial and safety practices
Negligence by staff that is responsible for cleaning up spills and keeping workplaces safe can result in slip and fall accidents in situations that include:
- Custodial staff and housekeepers fail to clean up spills and leaks or pick up debris
- Workers leave equipment where they become tripping hazards in the workplace
- Electrical cords and wires are left where they can be tripped over.
Poor safety training
Employees of all businesses and construction sites should receive proper training to avoid slipping and falling while on duty, according to guidelines from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This includes training on being aware of and how to look out for hazards, how to use equipment safely, proper use of and how to secure ladders, and the wearing of slip-resistant shoes. Employers who fail to do so may be held liable for damages.
Elderly and sick patients in nursing homes and hospitals often have a poor sense of balance which leaves them at an increased risk of slipping and falling. They must be monitored by staff and their environment kept safe from tripping hazards. Bathrooms should be equipped with handrails that help prevent falls.
Lighting systems in buildings and on properties, walkways, and staircases must provide sufficient illumination so that people can see where they are going and navigate safely from one point to another. Failure to install improper lighting can lead to a slip and fall accident, and liability of the employer or the owner of the property.
Weather conditions, such as wind, rain, ice and snow, create situations that lead to slip and fall accidents. While property owners cannot control weather, they do have the legal responsibility of shoveling the sidewalks, plowing streets, and salting walkways when weather creates hazards. If they fail to do so, they might be held liable for accidents that occur.
Slip And Fall Accident Lawsuits
Property owners and managers have what is known as a duty of care to make sure the property they are responsible for is properly maintained to prevent injuries to others and to fix unsafe conditions in a timely manner. If they are negligent and fail to do so and you are injured due to this negligence, you may have a case for a valid slip and fall lawsuit.
To win your slip and fall case, your attorney will have to prove that another party or parties (the defendant in the case) was negligent, at fault, and therefore liable for the accident. This means showing the following elements:
- The defendant had a duty of care to keep the property in a safe manner.
- This duty was breached because there was a dangerous condition on the property that posed an unreasonable risk of harm.
- The defendant knew or should have known about the condition and had time to remedy the condition but failed to do so.
- This negligent failure to properly fix or warn about the defect caused your accident.
- You suffered damages as a result.
Slip and fall cases are complicated, because there may be multiple parties who can be held liable, such as:
- Multiple owners of a business or property
- Property managers, maintenance workers, and the companies they work for
- Employers who failed to keep a workplace safe for employees
- Municipalities, if you fall in a public place.
Be aware that the defendants, their insurance companies, and their attorneys will try to shift liability and prove that you were careless and at fault for the accident or that there wasn’t enough time to remedy the situation. Your attorney will investigate the accident, gather evidence such as from photos and videos, eyewitness interviews, and police and medical reports, to combat these arguments and prove negligence.
Philadelphia Spinal Injury Lawyer Fights for Compensation
Spinal injuries are common in slip and fall cases, and can lead to serious conditions such as paralysis and inability to use limbs. Victims may require continuing care and be unable to return to work, and family and social life may never be the same. Your spinal injury attorney will fight to hold the negligent parties accountable and win a settlement that includes payment for both your economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages cover your monetary expenses that have specific dollar amounts, including:
- medical and rehabilitation bills
- lost income from being unable to work, currently and into the future
- any property damaged from the fall
- funeral costs, in case of death.
Non-economic damages are for more damages that do not have a specific dollar value, but negatively impact your life, including:
- emotional and mental anguish and anxiety
- physical pain and suffering
- loss of consortium and enjoyment of life
- life-altering effects of a permanent disability.
In some rare cases involving gross negligence, intentional torts or egregious wrongdoing on the defendant’s part, punitive damages may also be awarded to deter this type of behavior from happening in the future.
There are a wide range of amounts that may be awarded as compensation in a slip and fall case, depending on the factors such as the circumstances of the fall and the extent and permanence of the injuries. Every case is different, and your attorney will evaluate your individual situation and give you an idea of the amount of compensation to go after.
Get Help from Our Philadelphia Back Injury Lawyer for a Slip and Fall
We Get Results in Slip and Fall Claims
Slip and fall accidents fall under the category of premises liability law, and in many of these cases, insurance companies will start building a case as soon as you are injured to minimize your settlement. If you sustain a back injury, spinal cord injury, or any other serious injury from a slip and fall in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you should contact our slip and fall lawyers as soon as possible, before you discuss anything with an insurance company.
Our slip and fall lawyers take every case under the assumption that it will require tough litigation in a trial setting and are fully prepared to take every step necessary to secure your compensation. Let us handle all aspects of your case so you can focus on your recovery.
Call Wapner Newman today at (215) 569-0900 for a free consultation to discuss your case with a slip and fall attorney in Philadelphia. Our firm serves slip and fall accident victims throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.