Some of the most common personal injury cases that we see at the Connell Law Firm involve slip and fall injuries. Many people are naturally embarrassed after a slipping and falling down, especially in a public setting, such as a grocery store. For this reason, it is also not uncommon for victims of such injuries to want to gloss over them, avoid making a bigger issue out of it, and simply face their medical expenses and lost wages without seeking compensation. You may even feel that it was your own fault for not noticing or paying attention to the hazard that caused the accident. However, it is far more likely that the injury can be attributed to the negligence of someone else who failed to properly address or warn of a hazard, such as a wet floor or icy sidewalk. We want you to know that these injuries are more common than you think, and there is nothing to be embarrassed about, certainly nothing that should prevent you from seeking compensation from responsible party who could have prevented the accident.
How Did You Slip and Fall?
More than eight million people wind up in the hospital each year due to slip and fall injuries in the United States. The accidents occur in many different environments, including the workplace, retail and grocery stores, schools, and various other public and private properties. The injuries that occur are nearly always accidental, and this may lead the victim to think that there is nobody to blame. Yet, even accidents are preventable by proper diligence on the part of the owner or management of the property. For example, any property should be regularly maintained and inspected for hazards. Warnings should be posted where hazards exist, and those that can be resolved ought to be addressed in a timely manner. For example, if there is a leak that may cause a wet floor or if someone has recently mopped, there should be signs warning you of the potential danger and icy walkways should be addressed to prevent falls. Following are the most common examples of hazards that result in slip and fall injuries:
- Slippery floors can be caused by spills, leaks, mopping, and weather.
- Walkways that are blocked or cluttered with debris.
- Damaged floors, including gaps in wood, tile, or carpet.
- Areas that become crowded with pedestrians.
- Sidewalks with gaps or damage.
- Inadequate lighting in hallways or stairways.
- Missing or damaged hand rails on stairs.
If there are no safety precautions, warnings, or repairs to such hazards, then the owner or representative of an establishment can be held legally responsible for accidental injuries.
What Sort of Injuries Did You Face?
While some slip and fall injuries are minor, even those can lead to significant expenses and losses for the victim. The National Flooring Council reports that over $13 million in damages, medical expenses, and lost income are encountered by slip and fall injury victims every year. Yet, this number does not account for those who never report their injuries, and many face the expenses on their own out of embarrassment or a lack of information.
Even if you think that your injuries are not serious, you should seek out medical attention as soon as possible after a slip and fall injury. It is very common for seemingly mild injuries to turn into serious complications down the road. In some cases, the symptoms of serious injuries simply don’t become noticeable for days or weeks after the incident. A common example is a back injury that may feel mild, but grows worse as time passes. The sooner you seek medical treatment, the better off you will be, physically and legally, should you pursue a claim. Following are the most common types of injuries associated with slip and fall accidents:
- Muscle and Tendon Strains
- Muscle and Tendon Sprains
- Muscle and Tendon Tears
- Fractured Hips
- Fractured Pelvis
- Fractured Wrists
- Fractured Ankles
- Fractured Spines
- Spinal Disk Hernias
- Spinal Disk Slips
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
Who is Responsible for Your Slip and Fall Injuries?
The South Carolina Code of Laws, Section 27-3-60 states that property owners are legally responsible for slip and fall injuries that occur due to their negligence or actions that created the hazards. This means that if the property owner knew about the hazard or if they reasonably should have known about it, then they have a duty of care to those who enter the property to post warnings and/or eliminate the hazard. If you have suffered a slip and fall injury, you should alert the property owner, management, or security of the incident as soon as possible. You should seek out medical treatment to evaluate, identify, and address your injuries; and you should contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation of your case. By holding the legally liable party responsible for the accident that occurred, you not only encourage safer practices in the future, but you can also receive compensation for your losses, including:
- Medical Expenses
- Future Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Lost Earning Potential
- Physical Rehabilitation Expenses
- Occupational Therapy Expenses
- Pain and Suffering Compensation
In some cases, even punitive damages are warranted. Punitive damages are intended to punish the behavior that led to the accident and are generally awarded when the accident resulted from egregiously negligent or willful conduct.
If you’ve suffered from a slip and fall injury, do not hesitate to contact the personal injury attorneys at the Connell Law Firm. We are happy to evaluate your case with a free consultation and help you to take the necessary steps to get the compensation you deserve.