To some, a slip and fall is no big deal. If you take a tumble while out shopping, for example, or slip while over a friend’s house, you may simply get back up and think nothing of it. However, if you develop an injury following the incident, you may have the right to seek compensation if the fall was due to someone else’s negligence.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), fall accidents account for over 8 million emergency room visits each year, and those who slipped and then fell account for over 1 million ER visits. Of all the injuries that occur from slip and falls, hip fractures are the most severe and can lead to serious health problems and even death, especially for elderly individuals.
No matter the severity of the incident, you should always see a doctor after a fall to check for injuries. Symptoms of injuries can sometimes take days or even weeks to develop, but the longer you wait to seek treatment, the worse the injury can become. Additionally, seeking medical treatment can help if you decide to pursue compensation. You may also need to work with an experienced personal injury attorney as proving fault or negligence after a slip and fall accident can get tricky.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can happen almost anywhere, and they often catch you off guard. They can occur in residential homes, shopping malls, at work, on the sidewalk, in a school, or any number of other commercial, public, or private spaces.
The most common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Uneven surfaces
- Debris or other objects on the ground or floor
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
- Spilled liquids
- A lack of handrails
- Loose floorboards
- Mats or rugs
- Cracked sidewalks and potholes
- Grease or oil splatters
- Icy surfaces
- Loose cords
- Poor lighting
Injuries that result from falls due to the above dangers can vary. Most often, victims suffer bruising, sprains, strains, and broken bones, but some may suffer more severe injuries such as hip fractures or even head trauma. Older adults are more susceptible to severe injury after a slip and fall due to their weakened muscle strength and more brittle bones; however, anyone can get seriously hurt depending on the situation.
Steps to Take Following a Slip and Fall Accident
After a slip and fall accident, you should never ignore what happened. Even if the incident felt inconsequential and you don’t feel like you were injured, you never know how you will feel in a few days or weeks. If you wait too long to report the incident or seek medical care, it can negatively impact your case should you decide to pursue legal action for compensation.
The following are the steps you should take after a slip and fall incident:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Write down everything you can remember about the incident and how it occurred.
- Gather witness statements and contact information from anyone else that saw what happened.
- Photographs are also beneficial in personal injury cases. If there was something spilled on the floor or if there was a crack or other issue that caused the fall, for example, you should snap some photos for evidence.
- Contact a personal injury attorney. Whether the fall occurred on residential property or in a public or commercial space, it is likely that the owner of the property will try to fight against your claim. It is often necessary to work with an attorney to prove fault and get the compensation you deserve in these situations.
Pursuing Compensation For a Slip and Fall
In Indiana, property owners, including homeowners, are responsible for any injuries that occur on their property. However, liability depends on the individual circumstances of the slip and fall accident. Generally, the term “reasonable” is used to determine whether the property owner is at fault or not. For example, was the owner aware of the hazard that caused the fall, and did they have a reasonable amount of time to address the issue?
If you are looking to file a personal injury claim or even a lawsuit, you will need to be able to prove that the property owner was at fault due to their failure to uphold their “reasonable” legal obligations. The complication with these cases is that it can be difficult to prove what is reasonable and what is not.
The basics of proving fault in a premises liability claim are as follows:
- You must prove that a hazard existed,
- that the property owner knew about the hazard,
- that the owner had a reasonable duty or amount of time to address the issue and failed to do so,
- the hazard they failed to address caused your fall, and
- you were injured as a result of the fall and suffered damages.
How an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one are injured on someone’s property, you have a right to file a claim against them to pursue compensation for your injury and other damages. Money awarded for damages can help cover medical expenses, loss of wages if you miss work, and pain and suffering. However, proving fault in a premises liability case can be difficult.
When you’ve been injured in an accident, the team at Crossen Law Firm can help. Our team has over 20 years of experience to help you win your case and receive the full compensation that you deserve.
Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation at (317) 401-8626.