Slip and fall accidents may not sound serious at first, but in reality these incidents often lead to severe injuries. If you own private or commercial property, you must understand your responsibilities when it comes to furnishing lawful visitors with a safe environment. Similarly, it is wise to know the most common places slip and fall accidents occur to limit your risk of serious damages.
The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) reports that slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and missed days from work. Slip and fall accidents are especially dangerous for older adults, and they are the leading cause of occupational injuries for people over the age of 55.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury at work from a slip and fall accident, you may have the option to pursue a workers’ compensation claim for medical expense coverage and weekly benefits until you recover enough to return to work. However, workers’ compensation may not be an option through some employers, and even if you secure workers’ compensation benefits, they may not be enough to cover the cost of your damages.
When a workers’ compensation claim does not offer enough to fully cover your injuries, or if an employer’s egregious negligence or intentional tort caused a slip and fall at work, the employer could face liability if the victim pursues a personal injury claim. Employers may also face fines and other legal penalties from oversight bodies if they fail to prevent foreseeable injury risks or fix known safety issues.
Another common place for slip and fall accidents to occur is commercial property. Business owners must ensure they prevent slip and fall injuries whenever there is a foreseeable risk of such injuries. For example, if a heavy snowstorm hits, a business owner must refer to state and local laws to determine how and when to clear away the ice and snow. The owner should also place wet floor signs inside the entryway to warn customers of slippery floors due to people tracking in snow and ice.
A business owner could easily face liability for a slip and fall accident if the owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent such injuries. Even if snow and ice is not a factor, the owner should ensure employees mark wet floors after mopping or cleaning up spills.
Slip and fall injuries often occur on private property. The NFSI report that about half of all accidental deaths that occur in the home are falls, and many of these incidents may occur due to personal negligence. Every individual must use appropriate caution when performing household chores or anything else that may entail a slip and fall risk. Private property owners also owe a duty of care to lawful visitors on their properties and must take reasonable precautions against injuries.
One important thing to remember about commercial and private premises liability claims is that property owners do not owe any duty of care to trespassers. Anyone who illegally enters a property cannot sue the owner for damages if he or she suffers a slip and fall injury.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a slip and fall on a publicly-owned property or in a government facility, the government entity responsible for the location would likely absorb liability for the resulting damages. However, filing a civil claim against a government body is difficult and entails some special considerations such as limited time to file a claim and restrictions on certain types of damages. Some government entities have immunity from civil claims, so navigating these issues is especially difficult.