Slip and falls are the leading cause of medically treated injuries in the United States. Slip and fall accidents result in a variety of injuries including sprains, abrasions, fractures and broken bones, neck and back injuries, and serious head trauma.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Every year, more than eight million Americans end up in hospital emergency rooms with injuries that range from minor sprains and abrasions to broken bones and head trauma. Back injuries, frequently caused by slip and fall accidents, often result in serious injuries such as ruptured disks, broken or fractured tailbones, and spinal cord injuries that can cause immobilization and temporary or permanent paralysis. Slip and fall accidents are responsible for almost 25 percent of all accidental deaths in the United States, ranking second only to motor vehicle accidents.
Slip and fall accidents commonly occur at home, at work, and on public or private properties. Common causes include:
- Wet floors, uneven floors, and torn carpeting
- Icy outdoor sidewalks and parking lots
- Damaged stair treads and broken handrails
- Inadequate lighting in stairwells and public areas
- Unprotected construction areas
- Falling objects
Premises Liability Injuries
Many slips and falls accidents come under premises liability laws when a property owner fails to protect people who are injured on his/her property. Businesses and property owners have a duty to provide reasonable care and protect invited parties from dangerous conditions and unreasonable risks of harm. A property owner has a duty to repair all known property conditions that may cause injury and warn visitors of potential dangers. If a person suffers injuries on the property due to a breach of this duty, the property owner can be held liable for injuries, including all associated medical costs incurred.
A property owner’s duties can vary depending on whether an injured person is visiting the premises by invitation or trespassing. Many state laws acknowledge three main categories of people who may be on another person’s property – invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The greatest duty of safety is to individuals who are invited onto the property. Property owners and businesses that occupy a property have a duty of care to make sure the premises are safe for all visitors.