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Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents and Injuries: When the Wipeout Isn't a Laughing Matter

Everyone gets a good laugh out of a person falling down. However, many times the slip, trip and fall is no laughing matter. People are often injured seriously when they slip, trip and fall due to a dangerous or defective condition and today's blog post is going to discuss the causes of these accidents, common injuries associated with them, and what an injured person's rights are if they are the victim of this type of accident.

One of the most common causes of a slip, trip and fall accident is a substance on the floor. The substances can range from cleaning products, oil, food, water, ice or just about anything you can imagine. These contaminates can be caused by careless people, poor drainage, surface irregularities that are caused by wear and tear or weather, and many other factors. Other contributing causes for slip, trip and fall accidents can be poor lighting, inadequate handrails, tripping hazards like loose debris or electrical cords, hoses, worn carpeting, floor mats, and flooring being in disrepair. Improper snow and ice removal can also be a factor that causes a slip, trip and fall accident.

When people are injured in a slip, trip and fall accident, the most common injuries that occur, according to the Centers for Disease Control are lower limb injuries. Nearly forty five percent (45%) of slip, trip and fall injuries result in an injury to a person's foot, ankle, knee or some other portion of their leg. About seventeen percent (17%) of these accidents result in upper limb injury, like broken wrists, and arms, sprains and strains to elbows and shoulders which normally result from the victim trying to break his or her fall. About sixteen percent (16%) of these accidents result in injuries to a person's back and torso. Multiple body parts are injured in about seventeen percent (17%) of these accidents and the remaining accidents accounting for about five percent (5%) suffer head injuries.

About forty eight percent (48%) of the accidents result in a sprain, strain, dislocation or tear. Twenty two percent (22%) result in bruising, contusions and concussions and about two and a half percent (2.5%) result in cuts, punctures, lacerations and abrasions. About ten percent (10%) result in fractures and the remainder of the accidents result in unspecified injuries.

If you have been injured in a slip, trip and fall accident and you contact us for a free consultation, we will first look at whether the potential defendant actually created the condition that caused your accident or if they knew or should have know of the existence of the condition and they did nothing to correct it. Obviously, if the defendant created the condition, the defendant knew about the existence of the condition that caused your accident. If a third party created the condition, we have to find out if the defendant land owner or lessee was notified of the condition or if the condition existed for such a long period of time that the property owner or lessee just neglected to take care of the condition. The concept of knowing about the dangerous condition existing for so long that the land owner or lessee should have known about the condition is called notice. A plaintiff almost always need to show that the defendant had notice of the defect or dangerous condition and an opportunity to correct or fix it.

How do we, as attorneys, show that a defendant had notice of a condition ? First, we look at the condition itself. are we talking about a sidewalk irregularity, a location where there was construction activity or food or other debris being in a walkway. Many victims take photos or have a friend or family member take photos of the scene of the accident. If the accident is reported to us quickly enough, we can send an investigator out to observe and photograph the scene as well. Often times, we can tell allot from the condition that caused a person to slip, trip and fall. If there is a slippery substance on the floor and there are foot prints in that substance, it may have existed for a long enough period of time for the property owner or person in control of the property to have discovered the condition. Weather conditions can play a part in this analysis if we are talking about a snow and ice case and our client slipped on ice in an apartment complex where snow melted the day before and froze over night.

If our client has been injured on a sidewalk, search municipal records to find out if someone complained about a defective condition where the accident occurred. When dealing with municipalities, victims are normally required in New York to show that the municipality had prior written notice of the defective condition. As a result, I tell everyone I know that if they see a defective condition in a sidewalk or a roadway, please write to the local town or city clerk and let them know that something is wrong with it so the municipality can fix the condition. You may save a friend or neighbor from a trip to the hospital.

There are many other causes of slip, trip and fall accidents and there are many types of injuries. YOu can recover for pain an suffering, out of pocket medical expenses, future medical care if that is require, lost wages if you are out of work and many other items which we will be happy to discuss with you. As always, if you end up being injured in a slip, trip and fall accident, please take care of your medical needs first. When you are able, feel free to pick up the phone and give us a call for a free consultation and we will get to work on our case for you. We will look at all the information available for your case, investigate the scene and hold those responsible for your injury accountable. I hope no one becomes a victim, but if you do, rest assured that I and all the other attorneys at Michael R. Varble & Associates, P.C. will fight for you.