The Dangers of Slip and Fall Accidents

Most people do not consider the dangers and costs associated with slip and fall cases until they slip and fall. But according to the World Health Organization (WHO):

  • Approximately 684,000 people die every year, worldwide, from a fall.Slip and Fall
  • The greatest number of those fatalities are adults over the age of 60.
  • Every year, 37.3 million people require medical attention for severe injuries resulting from falls.
  • More than 8 million people annually are treated in the emergency room for fall-related injuries—the leading cause of hospital emergency room visits (21.3%); slips and falls account for 1 million emergency room visits (12% of total falls).
  • Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims.
  • Approximately 85% of worker’s compensation claims are the result of employees slipping on slippery floors

If you experienced a slip and fall on someone else’s property and were injured as a result of the property owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This article explains what compensation you may receive as a result of a slip and fall on someone else’s property.

But before you can receive compensation for your injuries, you must first show that the property owner was at fault.

What Must I Prove in a Slip and Fall Case?

To receive compensation for a slip and fall that occurred on someone else’s property, you must the four basic elements of a negligence claim. Specifically, you must show that:

The property owner owed you a duty of care 

A property owner has a legal duty to make his or her property safe for anyone who enters the property legally or is invited onto the property. If you trespass on someone else’s property, where you slip and fall, you will not be able to recover for your injuries from the property owner because the property owner owed you no duty of care as a trespasser.

The property owner violated his or her duty of care

If a property owner creates or allows and unsafe or hazardous condition to exist on the property (or should have been aware that an unsafe condition existed) and does not take reasonable steps to remove the hazard or warn people of the condition, then the property owner is negligent and violates his or her duty of care.

An unsafe condition could include a wet or slippery floor, an obstruction in a walkway, or any hazardous condition that poses an unreasonable risk of harm to persons on the property.

The property owner’s negligence caused you to slip and fall

Even if a property owner was negligent by knowing that an unsafe condition existed on the property (for example, a pool of spilled grease on the steps of a staircase) and not removing the condition or posting a reasonable warning on the property, you may not recover for your injuries resulting from a slip and fall if you did not slip and fall on the staircase as a result of the slippery floor. If, instead, you were injured because you were careless and tripped on a stair that was not slippery with grease, then the property owner’s negligence did not cause your injuries—you did.

Likewise, if the property owner took reasonable measures to warn you of the slippery staircase (perhaps by posting signs and warnings at and around the staircase) that you either did see but ignored, or should have seen but did not, then even if you slipped on the greasy staircase, you might not recover for your injuries.    

You suffered actually injuries as a result of your slip and fall

Even if you did slip and fall as a result of the property owner’s negligence and not your own carelessness, you may not recover and damages if, in fact, you were not injured. If you were, in fact, injured, the question then becomes, “What may you recover for your injuries?”

What Are the Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries?

As with any kind of accident, when you sip and fall, you could injure any part of your body. However, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), there are certain groups of people who are more likely to fall, and there are certain injuries resulting from falls that are more likely to occur within certain groups. As an example, the American Trucking Association reports that slips and falls are the leading cause of compensable injury in the trucking industry.  

Consider the following:

  • Although falls are about equal between men and women, more women will experience slip and fall accidents than men.
  • Slips and falls are the leading cause of occupational injury for people 55 years of age and older.
  • Every year, 1 out of every 3 persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall, 10% of which will suffer a serious injury.
  • Approximately 1.8 million people over the age of 65 are treated in an emergency room as a result of a fall.
  • For people between the ages of 65 and 84, falls are the second leading cause of injury-related death.
  • For those aged 85 years or older, falls are the leading cause of injury-related death.
  • The incidence of falls increases with each decade of life.
  • Falls are the sixth leading cause of death among people who are 70 years of age or older.
  • Approximately 5% of all people who fall sustain some sort of fracture, which is the most serious consequence of falls.
  • Falls account for 87% of all fractures among people over the age of 65 and are the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries and brain injury symptoms.
  • Of all fractures that result from falls, hip fractures are the most serious; hip fractures lead to the greatest health problems and number of deaths.
  • Half of all persons over the age of 65 who are hospitalized for hip fractures cannot return to their home or live independently after the fracture.
  • Falls represent 40% of all nursing home admissions.
  • People over the age of 85 are 10-15 times more likely to experience a hip fracture than are people aged 60-65.

Of course, just because certain groups of people—particularly within the elderly population—are more inclined to fall does not mean that they fall as a result of a property owner’s negligence. However, property owners must be particularly mindful that when elderly people do fall on their property, they are more inclined to sustain specific injuries (fractures) that are more likely to lead to compensable injuries and death. This can be a significant factor in light of the compensation a slip and fall victim may recover.

What Compensation May I Recover for My Slip and Fall Injuries?

If your slip and fall was the result of the negligence of another property owner and you sustained injuries as a result of your slip and fall, you may sue the property owner to compensate you for your injuries. The compensation you may be entitled to includes more than just a dollar amount attributed to a specific injury, like a bruised shoulder or a fractured hip. Rather, you may be entitled to any and all expenses related to your injuries. Typically, these may include the following:

  • Expenses for immediate medical attention such as ambulatory care or emergency room treatment
  • Hospital bills
  • Medicine
  • All medical treatment
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Physical therapy
  • Lost wages from missed work (according to the slips and falls represent the primary cause of lost days from work).
  • Lost wages resulting from any permanent disability (disabling occupational injuries resulting from falls cost approximately $250,000-$300,000 per year).
  • Pain and suffering

According to the NFSI, in the United States, the total cost for compensation and medical expenses associated with slip and fall accidents just for employees is approximately $70 billion every year. When you consider all of these statistics, including those related to non-occupational slip and fall cases, the total compensation associated with all slip and fall cases in the United States becomes astronomical. 

Michael Foster
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Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney