Do You Know How to Avoid Painful Slip & Fall Accidents?
What are the most common injuries? Ask any ER nurse. They see dozens of slip and fall cases every day. Not a shift goes by they don’t treat somebody who’s been hurt because of an uneven walkway, a slippery floor, or an object carelessly left lying about for someone to trip over.
And these accidents can be painful, too. Sure, some slip and fall injuries are minor, resulting only in bumps and bruises. The occasional scrape, maybe. But sometimes, they’re so much worse.
A serious slip and fall accident could require stitches, crutches, or an extended hospital stay. Depending on severity, the injury could result in a catastrophic injury. Maybe even death.
Where are slip and fall injuries most likely to occur? How can you protect yourself against them? And if you’re injured in a slip and fall, what legal rights do you have?
Find the answers to these questions and more below.
Where most slip and fall accidents happen
Slip and fall accidents can happen almost anywhere. At home or away. In public or private spaces. Indoors or out.
Even the places we feel safest are open to potential accidents. While you’re obviously not going to slip and fall while sleeping in your bed, the risks begin the moment you get up in the morning.
The most common causes of slip and fall accidents are:
- snow and ice – slip and fall accidents are most common in winter when snow and ice can get the better of anyone
- disrepair – handrails, stairs, sidewalks, roadways; almost anything can fall apart due to wear and tear, creating a slip & fall hazard
- poor maintenance – sometimes accidents happen when regular maintenance of a public space falls behind schedule, allowing floors to get slippery with rainwater, etc.
- trip hazards – from carpeting that’s fraying at the edge to items left in a walkway, anything that can trip someone up could lead to a serious injury
- bad lighting – it’s hard to avoid what you can’t see
Outside places notorious for slip and fall accidents include sidewalks, walkways, and driveways. These areas are slippery when covered in ice. And in warmer weather, they can crack and become uneven.
Indoors, beware of wet floors, due either to people tracking in water when it’s raining, or maintenance (like mopping). Exercise caution at the gym and in restrooms where surfaces can be unexpectedly slippery. Also, be on the lookout for poorly maintained carpets that could be curling up at the edges.
And be careful around pools. It’s easy to slip and slide in displaced pool-side water.
Common injuries involved
According to Statistics Canada, slip and fall injuries account for most of the preventable injuries nationwide. And some of these injuries can be quite serious. Debilitating, even.
Common injuries associated with slip and fall accidents include:
Neck and back injuries
The sudden, jerky motion involved in a slip and fall accident can lead to a variety of neck and back injuries. These include but are not limited to herniated discs, slipped discs, spinal stenosis (compression), a damaged spinal cord, whiplash, and torn ligaments.
One of the biggest dangers of a slip and fall accident is the possibility of brain injury. People living with brain trauma have special long-term treatment needs that require extensive rehabilitation. They may have difficulty remembering simple details and have problems performing their regular daily activities. Sometimes, brain injuries can lead to nervous system problems resulting in mobility issues. Head trauma can also lead to personality changes resulting in behavioral problems and difficulties maintaining relationships.
Sometimes, slip and fall accidents result in broken bones. It’s easy to break an arm or a leg. A hand or a foot. If your face hits the ground, you could suffer facial fractures or even dental injuries. Of concern to seniors is the possibility of hip and pelvis fractures. Injuries like this could severely and permanently limit an older person’s mobility.
Soft tissue injuries
Your soft tissues include your muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bone marrow. And whereas broken bones tend to mend themselves after a few weeks, soft tissue injuries like to linger for a while. It’s not uncommon for a patient to still be in treatment for such an injury for weeks, months, or even years after the accident.
Common soft tissue injuries include strains, sprains, contusions, torn ligaments, and torn tendons.
Who’s responsible for your slip & fall?
In Ontario, the Occupiers’ Liability Act (OLA) section 3(1) states that the
occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.
In layman’s terms, this means that a property’s occupant is legally responsible for the safety of anyone on those premises and the belongings those people bring with them. Which means that they could be responsible in the event of an accident there.
But there are some finer details in this section that can’t be overlooked. For starters, it only stipulates that the occupant needs to keep the premises reasonably safe. Things don’t need to be maintained in immaculate condition at all times.
Also, proving negligence on behalf of the premises’ occupant doesn’t guarantee a victory if you bring a suit against them. You must prove that their negligence lead directly to causing your injury or you don’t have a case.
The occupier of the premises can vary from place to place. Depending on the case, the occupier could be a school, business, hospital, municipality, or individual.
Time limits on law suits
In the event you plan to file a lawsuit for a slip and fall injury, there’s a time limit involved. And depending on who’s responsible, you might need to file a claim sooner than later.
For instance, most suits need to be started within two years of the accident date. But if the negligent party is a municipality, you’ll need to notify them of your intent within ten days of the accident in some cases.
When in doubt, check with a reputable personal injury lawyer.
Slip and fall compensation
Let’s say you can prove that a third party’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness caused your slip & fall related injury and you file your suit on time. What then?
If your suit is successful, you could receive compensation for:
- loss of income (past and future)
- attendant care expenses
- housekeeping/home maintenance expenses
- pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment of life
Safety first — your best defense against slip and fall accidents
Don’t be another nameless face in the ER waiting room because of a slip and fall accident. Sure, it’s good to know there’s a system in place to take care of you in the event of an injury. But by taking a little extra care, many slip and fall accidents can be easily prevented.
Around the home, try to tidy up on a regular basis. Make sure you change burned out lightbulbs in a timely manner. And never leave anything on the floor where it can be tripped over.
In winter, clear snow and ice quickly so as not to put you or your neighbors at risk.
And, as odd as it may sound, wear decent footwear. A report by The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that up to a quarter of all slip and fall accidents are due to what we wear on our feet.
And it’s not just high heels. Lots of footwear can cause accidents. Sneakers with undone laces. Boots with worn-out soles. Loose-fitting sandals.
Sensible, secure, and well-maintained footwear can work wonders when it comes to keeping you upright and safe.
Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident?
The Mackesy Smye Personal Injury Law Firm has a wealth of experience in slip and fall cases. We fight to get you fair compensation for accidental injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.
Contact us today for a free consultation about your slip, trip & fall case and learn what your options are, and what your next steps should be.