Every year, slip and fall accidents are reported as one of the number one causes of injury that requires a visit to the emergency room. Based on past reports and statistics, the CDC believes that by 2030, there will be 7 fall-related deaths every hour. Elderly individuals are especially prone to falls and experience them at high rates that result in devastating injuries and fatalities.
Unfortunately, these types of incidents tend to increase during the winter months due to more hazardous conditions from snow and ice. Falls from slipping on slick surfaces can result in numerous injuries, including fractures, lacerations, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.
If you or a loved one are injured in a slip and fall accident, you should get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. Fall injuries can be quite severe, requiring expensive medical treatments and time off of work while recovering. An experienced Indianapolis attorney can help you file a claim and ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
Hazardous Conditions That Cause Slip and Falls in the Winter
In the winter months, snow and ice can cause typically safe environments to become dangerous. The term “hazardous conditions” is specifically used in legal settings to describe a situation in which something amiss causes a person to slip and fall. This can include:
- Snow or ice that has not been cleared from a walkway, steps, or other outdoor areas where someone might walk
- Snow or ice that has melted on indoor floors resulting in a slippery surface
- Lack of handrails to prevent people from falling when walking up or down slippery steps
Injuries That Result From a Slip and Fall Accident
Slip and falls in the winter can lead to serious injury. When you fall, you can hit parts of your body against another object, or you can fall and hit the ground. Outdoor falls can be especially severe as hitting the pavement is often much worse than falling on interior floors. Some of the most common injuries that result from slip and falls include:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Typically, when a person slips and falls, they fall backward. When this happens, they are prone to hitting the back of their head against the ground. This type of trauma to the head can result in severe head and brain injuries.
Any type of bone fracture can occur when you slip and fall, depending on how you land, but hip fractures are especially common. When you fall, the hips typically come into contact with the ground first, which means that area of the body bears the brunt of the force. Elderly individuals are particularly prone to sustaining hip fractures after a fall due to their weakened bone structure.
When you slip and fall, your body can jerk or move in a way that causes your back muscles to strain. Many adults will refer to this as “throwing their back out.” Pulled or strained back muscles can be extremely painful and may result in muscle spasms any time you try to move.
Bruising and Lacerations
Of course, cuts, scrapes, and bruises are also extremely common injuries when you fall and hit the ground or another object. Depending on what you fall on, lacerations can be quite deep, or you could even sustain a puncture wound.
Slip and Falls and Premises Liability
Slip and fall incidents are generally handled as a premises liability case. This is because property owners have a responsibility to keep their property safe and clear of hazardous conditions. It is the duty of a property owner to reasonably address a known hazard.
The term “reasonable” is emphasized in premises liability cases because property owners are not expected to be perfect or omniscient. In other words, they have to know that the hazard exists and be given a reasonable amount of time to take care of the issue. If snow or ice accumulates overnight, for example, and someone falls on their property first thing in the morning, it is understandable that the property owner may not have known or had enough time to address the issue.
This is why it’s important to work with an attorney when filing a personal injury claim due to a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property. Proving fault in premises liability cases can be tricky due to the “reasonable” terminology.
To prove fault, you must:
- Prove that a hazard existed.
- Prove that the property owner knew about the hazard.
- Prove that the property owner had a reasonable amount of time to address the issue but failed to do so.
- Prove that the hazardous condition was the direct cause of your slip and fall accident.
Consult an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer
If a property owner breached their care of duty by failing to address a known hazard on their property, you have a right to file a claim against them for compensation. However, proving fault in these circumstances can sometimes be challenging. You’ll need to work with an attorney who has experience handling premises liability claims relating to slip and fall accidents.
At Crossen Law Firm, we have over 20 years of experience fighting for victims of slip and fall accidents and are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation at (317) 401-8626.