Slip, Trip, and Fall Disputes

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 What Is a Slip, Trip, and Fall Dispute?

A slip, trip and fall dispute is a type of premises liability claim. These cases usually arise when a person slips and falls or trips and falls and suffers injuries as a result. The cause of the fall may be a dangerous condition on the floor of a retail store or other business. Slip and fall injuries often result from slippery floors caused by spilled liquids or grains. Trip and fall claims usually involve a failure to remove an object from the floor that causes a fall.There are also similar incidents known as “step and fall” and “stump and fall” accidents.

Trips and falls can also happen because of conditions of the pavement that make up sidewalks, roads and parking lots. So sometimes the victim must sue a municipal, county, state or even federal authority that is responsible for maintaining sidewalks, roads and parking lots..

In slip, trip and fall lawsuits, the injuries at issue can include any kind of joint, bone or muscular injury. A person might suffer a broken bone. They may sprain an ankle. Knees, hips, backs, necks, spinal or head injuries are all possible. Injuries may be worse if the victim is elderly, because elderly people may have more fragile bones. So, for example, an elderly person might land on their hip and suffer a broken hip in a slip and fall.

What Legal Theories Are Slip, Trip and Fall Lawsuits Based On?

Slip, trip and fall lawsuits are usually based on a negligence theory of law. In order to prove negligence, it must be shown that the defendant breached their duty of care to the victim, and that the breach was the actual cause of the victim’s injury. The duty of care that owners of property owe to members of the public who use the facility for which the owner is responsible is the duty to maintain it in a safe condition so avoidable accidents do not happen.

For example, with a slip and fall claim, the breach of duty may consist of a shopkeeper failing to mop the floor after a spill in an aisle. If the victim slipped and was injured as a result of the failure to mop the floor, this could form the basis for a negligence claim.

Or, in a trip and fall claim, a similar breach of duty might be the failure of a municipal agency responsible for sidewalk maintenance failing to eliminate height disparities in sidewalks. In this case, such a breach could serve as the basis for a negligence claim, if the victim tripped on the slab of sidewalk concrete, fell and suffered injuries, such as broken ribs.

In many states, the law requires the victim to show that they did not contribute to their own injuries by way of their own carelessness or neglect.

What Are the Remedies for Common Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents?

A common remedy for a slip, trip and fall case would be an award of economic, or compensatory, damages. This would be paid by the defendant to the victim, in order ro reimburse the victim for the losses they have sustained because of their injuries.

Compensatory damages cover all of the victim’s economic losses such as the following:

  • Medical Care: All costs for medical treatment of the victim’s injuries, e.g. bills for hospital care, bills for doctors’ visit, medication, rehabilitation and other legitimate treatment;
  • Lost Wages: if the victim misses work because of their injuries or to get medical treatment, they can recover their lost wages or salary;
  • Future Medical Treatment: If the victim has not fully recovered by the time of trial, then they can offer evidence of what their future medical expenses will be and receive compensation for those expenses as well;
  • Future Lost Earnings: A victim may lose wages in the future and those should be compensated by an award of damages also;
  • Loss of Earning Capacity: If the person injured in the fall has lost their capacity to work and earn a living, whether in whole or in part, an award of damages should compensate the person for this loss;
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensatory damages should include an amount that compensates the victim for the pain and suffering they experience as a result of sustaining injuries;
  • Punitive Damages: If the owner or landlord of property has been especially reckless or otherwise neglected their duty of care in an especially reprehensible manner, then on occasion, a victim might be awarded punitive damages, but this is rare.

If a person were to die in a slip, trip and fall accident, then their survivors would file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party whose negligence led to the accident.

Is My Employer LIable If I Slip, Trip or Fall at Work?

Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common dangers faced by workers in their places of employment. They put many workers at risk of sprains, strains, cuts, bruises, fractures, and other injuries. At worst, they can be fatal in high-risk occupations such as construction where there is a risk of falling from heights on construction projects.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that falls are the leading cause of construction accidents and on-the-job deaths. This is why the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires that workers complete fall protection training when they work at a height of 6-feet or higher, or when a worker might otherwise be exposed to fall hazards.

If a person is injured in a slip and fall accident in the course of their employment at work, they would turn to the workers’ compensation system in the state in which they live for compensation for their injuries.

Every state except Texas has a workers’ compensation system and in most states every employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance should compensate an employee who suffers injuries on the job. In some states an employer is not required to have workers’ compensation unless they have three or five employees. But in most states, the victim of a workplace accident should be compensated by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.

Workers’ compensation covers many of the same expenses that would be covered by compensatory damages in a negligence lawsuit as follows:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost earnings;
  • The cost of ongoing care;
  • The expense of a funeral, if an employee is killed on the job.

Generally, however, damages for pain and suffering and punitive damages are not available through any state’s workers’ compensation system.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Slip, Trip and Fall Lawsuit?

If you have been seriously injured in a fall, you should consult an experienced slip and fall lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can analyze your case and the extent of your injuries and advise you on the best way to proceed. If that involves filing a slip, trip and fall injury lawsuit, your attorney will be able to represent you, preparing the necessary documents and representing you expertly at hearings and at trial if your case goes to trial. Many cases are settled through negotiation before a trial happens.

If you fell and were injured on the job in the course of your employment, you want to consult a workers compensation lawyer. Workers compensation is a specialized area of the law with its own procedures and an experienced workers compensation lawyer is familiar with this specialized area of the law and can represent you most effectively in the workers compensation system.

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