According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for over eight million hospital emergency room visits and are the leading cause of visits to emergency departments making up over 21% of all ER visits. Slip and falls account for over a million visits, which is about 12% of all ER visits. Motor vehicle accidents account for 11.9% of all ER visits.
The cost of injuries due to falls is estimated at $13-14 million per year in United States. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury cases in this country, and these types of claims often involve people over the age of 65. Each year, thousands of Americans die as a result of a slip and fall, and many times, someone or something is at fault for these serious injuries and deaths.
Slip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella term of “premises liability,” a very complex area of personal injury law. The four elements of negligence apply with premises liability cases: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Property owners owe a duty of care to people who come onto their property, and when the property is a business, the owners owe the highest duty of care because people come onto their property as “invitees.” It is the property owner’s duty to make sure the building and surrounding areas are clean, neat, safe, and secure for their business invitees.
Slip and Fall Personal Injury Claims Facts
Slip and falls can happen on public property or in private residences, but public places are the top location where slip and fall accidents occur. If a visitor becomes injured due to unsafe conditions on private property, the injured person will typically recover damages through the homeowner’s insurance policy.
The type of property where you fall is very important to the personal injury claim. Some properties have laws regarding the duty of care, and storeowners and others who own public property have the highest duty of care. Private property owners have the next highest duty of care. Visiting a store as an invitee comes with a guarantee that the property is safe, but a homeowner is not held to such high standards. While proving negligence is more difficult when the accident happens in a home, it is not unheard of to sue a private property owner and win.
In slip and fall accident claims, the victim is responsible for proving that negligent conditions caused the injury, and damages must be proven. Hospital records and photographs of the physical injuries will be used to prove that you suffered harm and that you’re deserving of financial compensation.
Amount of Award and Comparative Negligence
In states that have comparative negligence laws, your monetary award will be reduced by the percentage you are deemed responsible for your injuries. If a court decides that you were partly at fault for your slip and fall, then a percentage of the damages cannot be claimed. Comparative negligence laws and amounts vary from state to state, so your personal injury attorney will go over these—if they even apply.
How much you’re awarded will be determined by the extent of your injuries. The general rule is that compensation is calculated based on pain, medical fees, and pain and suffering. Some cases will allow for emotional distress damages. If the fall or injuries caused you to experienced embarrassment, fear, or some level of stress, your attorney may seek compensation for emotional distress.
Slip and fall claims have statutes of limitations that vary in each state. If you’ve suffered an injury after a fall on someone else’s property, please contact a personal injury attorney in your area to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.