According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the major cause of accidental deaths and personal injuries in America are slip and fall accidents. Over 8 million people last year were treated for fall related injuries and over 20,000 people died from their injuries due to falls. Although many people perceive this to be a problem for the elderly or very young, it is increasingly becoming a problem for middle-aged adults and everyone in between.
In Orange County alone, it is the number one cause of unintentional personal injury to residents and the fourth leading cause of death. These types of accidents can range from embarrassing moments that you hope no one has seen to severe brain trauma or spinal cord damage.
One tragic example is a San Juan Capistrano resident and attorney, Serge Kohan. He was walking outside an Orange County courthouse when he slipped and fell. The cause of the fall is still unknown but it left him with serious injuries, including severe brain trauma and he is currently staying in a long-term care facility.
Another high profile slip and fall case is by Robert Bork, the one-time U.S. Supreme Court nominee. He was walking on stage to speak at an event when he was attempting to climb the dais, striking his leg and then hit his head on a heat register. His injury required surgery and several months of physical therapy.
Although these two above seem to be extreme cases, the average slip and fall case involves either a knee or ankle injury, according to Jury Verdict Research’s recent survey. They usually break down these types of cases between indoor and outdoor accidents.
Typical indoor slip and fall accidents are characteristically dangerous situations involving stairs, floors and escalators. Materials can get warn, liquids can spill; no handrail or many other issues can cause hazardous conditions. Property owners need to keep their property in good repair but consumers need to be cautious as well.
Outdoor slip and fall mishaps tend to include areas such as sidewalks, parking lots, inadequate lighting and icy conditions. It is the municipality or business owner’s responsibility to keep walkways, curbs and sidewalks free of defects to keep pedestrians safe. In addition, adequate lighting situations are important when parking lots have uneven surfaces or cracks.
Slip and fall accident usually fall under the area of law called premises liability. Most of these types of injuries have relatively short statute of limitations and involve other issues that only a professional personal injury attorney can evaluate. Only an experienced personal injury attorney can answer the full range of questions you might have so it is important to contact one as soon as practical.
Lastly, if you are injured in an accident such as a fall, try to gather any pictures of the accident scene, witnesses and write down what you remember as soon as you’re able. As time passes, memories fade and evidence changes. This will help your attorney piece together the information for a possible case.