When it comes to slips and falls, they can happen anytime, anywhere, to anyone. From work-related slips to black ice that hasn’t been cleared from a parking lot, plenty of hazards can cause even the most sure-footed person to take a dive.
Falling to the ground unexpectedly can be quite embarrassing for many people. They will often try to brush themselves off and walk away. The problem with this is that they could have suffered injuries that won’t manifest themselves for a few days to a few weeks.
We’re going to look at slips and falls and what you should do if you suddenly find yourself lying on the ground after tripping over something.
Slip and Fall Statistics
Slips and falls happen more frequently than people think. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and trip accidents account for around 8 million hospital emergency room visits every year. Out of these, fractured bones accounted for the majority of injuries.
Slips and falls are the second leading cause of death for people aged 65 to 84. For those over 85 years of age, a slip or fall is the leading cause of death. With each decade of life that people live, the chances of a fall increases exponentially.
What Causes a Slip and Fall?
You don’t have to be elderly, clumsy, or disabled to fall while you’re walking. A spilled clear liquid on a supermarket floor is very hard to make out, especially in stores with low lighting conditions. Black ice can form in the parking lot of stores, and all it takes is one wrong step to send someone toppling to the ground.
Several other causes can be attributed to slip and falls:
- Cluttered floors (boxes/etc.)
- Carpeting that has been torn
- Potholes in parking lots
- Cracks in sidewalks (often caused by tree roots)
- Staircases that are poorly constructed
- Floors that have recently been washed or waxed
- Floorboards that are loose
These above conditions make walking very hazardous. All it takes is for your foot to be unexpectedly kicked out from underneath you and you will come tumbling down to the ground.
After you have fallen, there are a few things that you should do:
Assess Your Safety – The first thing you should do is ensure your safety. If you think you broke or sprained something, call 911. If you hit your head on the ground, you should seek immediate medical treatment as you could have a concussion that may not fully manifest itself for several hours to several days afterward.
After you have sought out medical treatment, be sure to gather up and save any paperwork, including but not limited to:
- Police reports
- Hospital records
- Insurance information
Document the Scene – If you can do so safely, pull out your cell phone and take pictures of the exact area that you fell. Try to photograph the location from as many angles as possible. If there are witnesses nearby, ask them if you can have their contact information.
Report the Accident – No matter where you are at, make sure that you report the accident to the owner (or manager) of the property where you fell. Ask them for a written report or statement – most store managers are required to fill out a written report when someone slips and falls on their property. Be sure to ask them for a copy of the report.
Do Not Give a Statement – Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Keep quiet and limit the amount of communication you give to the owner or manager of the property you fell on. If they or their insurance agent ask you for a statement, politely decline until you’ve retained an attorney. The insurance company can and will twist your words and attempt to use your statements against you.
Call a Personal Injury Attorney – An experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek remedy for your injuries and suffering. They can advise you on what to say to the insurance companies, or they can act as a liaison and negotiate on your behalf. By retaining an attorney, you will have someone on your side who will fight hard for your rights.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Attorney in Tacoma
At Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel, we are passionate about helping people seek justice for injuries they sustained due to the negligence of others. If you’ve taken a slip or fall and would like advice on how to proceed filing a claim, give us a call at (253) 472-6000 or visit our website to learn more about how we can help you seek justice.