According to the National Floor Safety Institute, 2,000 people a day are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related accidents. “Slip and fall” is the term used for a personal injury case arising out of a person slipping or tripping and falling down, resulting in an injury on a commercial or residential property that is not theirs. These cases generally fall under the legal category of “premises liability” claims because the injury occurs on property owned by someone else who can then be held responsible. Slip and fall accidents can be very severe and can lead to traumatic brain injury, broken bones, cuts, scrapes, bruises, and even death.
Slip and Fall Statistics
- Nearly one third of people over the age of 65 in the U.S. fall every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Americans between 65 and 84 years old, slips and falls are a leading cause of death.
- Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury. The effects from a brain injury can linger and result in impairment that lasts weeks to months.
- Slip and fall injuries that occur at the workplace are the most common reason for lost days at work. 60 percent of work-related slip and fall injuries happen in the service industry. The construction, mining, manufacturing, and trucking industries also see a fair share of slip and fall accidents.
- Over two million fall injuries each year are attributed to floors and flooring materials.
- Slips and falls are the most common cause of non-fatal injuries in almost all age groups.
- Fall-related medical bills exceed $34 billion annually in the U.S. The average hospital bill for a slip and fall injury is over $30,000.
Who is Responsible in a Slip and Fall Case?
Determining who is legally responsible for your injuries in a slip and fall accident can be complicated. The liability in each case will depend on whether the property owner acted diligently to ensure that slips and trips were not likely to happen. If the property owner was negligent or careless in the upkeep of their property, and allowed hazardous conditions to develop, they may be at fault. A person who sustained an injury in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property will have to prove that there were dangerous conditions that caused their injury and that the property owner knew or should have known that the danger existed. Dangerous conditions are considered unreasonable risks for a person to take on the property that could not have been anticipated under normal circumstances. Obvious dangers, that any reasonable person would avoid, may not be considered a legitimate cause for a slip or fall accident.
Slip and Fall on Commercial Property
Many people slip and fall when going to a restaurant, gym, retail store, or other commercial property. For the property owner to be held legally responsible for the injuries suffered by someone slipping, tripping, or falling while on their property, the following must be proven:
- The property owner must have caused the spill, worn or torn spot, or other slippery or dangerous surface or item, to be underfoot;
- The property owner must have known of the dangerous surface but did nothing about it; or,
- The property owner should have known of the dangerous surface because a “reasonable” person managing the property would have discovered and repaired or removed it.
The last situation is the most common. The law will determine if the property owner or occupier was careful and diligent in their care of the property, and if their efforts to keep the property safe were reasonable.
Slip and Fall on Residential Property
In residential settings, landlords or property owners may be held liable to tenants or third parties for slip and fall injuries on their property. To hold a landlord legally responsible for a slip and fall injury, a tenant must show that:
- The landlord had control of the conditions that caused the slip and fall;
- Repairing the condition would have been reasonably inexpensive or easy;
- A serious injury was a foreseeable consequence of not fixing the dangerous condition; and,
- The landlord’s failure to reasonably avoid an accident resulting from their negligence caused the tenant’s slip and fall injury.
Houston Slip and Fall Attorneys
It’s important to understand your rights when you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a property owner’s negligence. The personal injury attorneys at Adame Garza are ready to help you navigate the complicated process of filing a claim for slip and fall injuries. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a property owner’s negligence and have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Contact us today to learn more.