If you’ve been injured in a slip (or trip) and fall accident on someone else’s property, it is important to understand your legal rights. Accidents happen, and injuries are sometimes the result, but when the accident was caused by someone or something outside of your control, you may have options for legal recourse.
The number of people who need emergency medical care because of a slip and fall is more than one million each year with fall injuries being the leading cause of hospital emergency room visits. That’s more than two thousand people each day in the United States alone. Of those falls, roughly 12 percent are slip and fall accidents. Falls can cause severe injuries at any age, including hip fractures, back injuries and head injuries, making it difficult to live independently.
When you slip and fall, there’s a five percent chance that you’re going to break a bone. Further, a slip and fall accident causes severe injuries in 20-30 percent of cases. When you suffer serious injuries because of a slip and fall, you may recover for pain and suffering in addition to recovering for your medical bills.
Common Injuries Associated with Slip/Trip and Falls
When slip and fall accidents occur and unless there are serious injuries, people generally react with embarrassment and hope that there were no witnesses to their humiliation! Unfortunately, a few hours later, they may find that they have suffered serious injuries that require medical attention.
Slip and fall accidents can result in injuries that range from just minor bumps and bruises, all the way to permanent disabilities. While there are various injuries that can be suffered as a result, there are a few injuries that are quite common involving the head, back, neck and pelvic area.
Back and Neck Injuries
Slip and falls can result in broken or slipped disks along the lower neck and spinal column, as well as painful and chronic pain that can require surgery or debilitate a person to where they can no longer earn a living or work.
Injuries sustained during a slip and fall can include concussions, or even worst, traumatic injuries to the brain that cause problems with balance, mobility memory or even cognitive and behavioral issues.
Since most of the victims in slip and fall cases are elderly, many of these accidents result in broken hips or cracked pelvises. These types of injuries are extremely painful and often require invasive surgery and extended nursing home stays
Torn Tendons and Ligaments
It is natural for a person to try to catch themselves when falling, that type of quick response can stop the fall all together or make the injuries worse. When using your feet, knees or hands to prevent the fall, you could tear a ligament or tendon. These injuries cause those injured to suffer life-long consequences that often never completely heal.
In addition, some other potential injuries may include:
• Broken bones
• Sprained ankles or wrists
• Knee damage
• Shoulder dislocations or muscle strains
• Spine and nerve damage
• Traumatic brain injury
• Cuts and bruises
What to Do if You Experience a Slip and Fall
Apart from the medical aspect of delay, the legal and insurance aspects are equally important when seeking compensation for injuries. Hence, it’s important to follow certain steps if you’ve had a slip and fall accident on someone else’s premises. No matter how minor you assume the injuries to be, these steps should be followed.
• Get immediate medical attention so that your injuries are documented, thoroughly investigated and the right treatment is provided.
• Report the accident to someone in authority immediately and get a written acknowledgment. If you’re badly hurt, make sure that a family-member/trusted friend does it on your behalf.
• Get contact details of anyone who may have witnessed the incident and make a note of any cameras in the vicinity that may have recorded it.
• If possible, take photographs on your cell-phone of the exact location with prominent landmarks.
• Never confront anyone, be persuaded to sign documents or give permission to access your personal information and records.
Damages Available in a Slip and Fall Accident
General compensatory damages are generally awarded in slip and fall cases. These types of damage awards serve to compensate an injured person for damages that are deemed non-monetary. These damages include:
• Pain and Suffering
• Mental anxiety
• Loss of companionship
Special compensatory damages are awarded in cases where monetary expenses are incurred on behalf of the injured person as a direct result of the injury. The goal is to make the plaintiff whole again and restore their financial situation to where it was before the accident. These include:
• Medical bills
• Attorney fees
• Cost of future medical services required
• Household bills and necessities
Hire a Slip and Fall Attorney
Under Pennsylvania premises liability law, property owners have a legal duty to ensure the reasonable safety of visitors to their stores, businesses and homes. Those who violate this legal duty to their customers or neighbors may be legally liable to compensate the injured for medical bills and other losses. There are a number of factors to consider when determining slip and fall settlements. Negligence and liability are two major components of discovery, but the plaintiff must be free from blame as well. You may be able to pursue legal action after a slip and fall at a retail store, shopping mall, hotel, restaurant, office building, or a public place, like a park or stadium. However, to win your case you will need to be able to prove that someone else – usually the property owner — is liable for your injuries.
In Philadelphia and Chester County and the surrounding areas of Pennsylvania, a premises liability lawyer can review your case and explain the legal options. If you are entitled to seek compensation, we can put years of combined legal experience into a dedicated effort for you. There are generally two ways to resolve your personal injury or wrongful death claim, and to get the compensation you deserve. One option is to negotiate a settlement agreement, giving up your right to sue in exchange for payment. The second option is to take your claim to court and prove your case. Many attorneys are good at negotiating settlements or representing clients in court but may not be experienced at both. At Wilk Law Office, however, you will not have to make a choice between a settlement negotiator or a trial lawyer.
At Wilk Law, you will have access to skilled negotiators and seasoned trial lawyers. We focus on settlement agreements, using our negotiation skills to obtain a full settlement without going to court. If the insurer refuses to agree to a fair settlement, you will be represented by our West Chester slip and fall attorneys to help you to get the money you deserve. Contact us online or by phone today to set up your FREE consultation.