According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for more than eight million hospital emergency room visits each year and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they account for more than $34 billion annual in medical costs. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than two million fall injuries each year. Safety experts have identified a number of important factors that lead to slips and falls and their resulting injuries. Here are five for your consideration:
Factor 1: Wet and Uneven Surfaces
Many falls result from walking across a wet or uneven surface. Even where the person is cautious, having identified the conditions of the floor surface, a severe fall can occur. The most serious consequences of most falls are fractures, which occur in five percent of all people who fall.
Factor 2: Other Flooring Hazards or Dangers
Even when the surface is dry, other flooring hazards can be present. Many falls are associated with torn carpeting, loose floorboards, and clutter. Poor lighting can also be associated with slips, falls, and tripping incidents. A surprisingly large number of falls each year result from inadequate attention on the part of the victim. Some Californians pride themselves as “multitaskers,” but if the tasks include walking and texting, a serious fall can take place. Sometimes, the problem is as simple as walking too fast for conditions.
Factor 3: Inadequate Work-Related Training
Slips and falls, particularly within the construction industry, account annually for many injuries and fatalities. Many workers are inadequately trained. Some are not provided with appropriate safety gear, such as harnesses and safety nets. Many workers are not trained in traversing the work site. One additional common problem: Inadequate footwear.
Factor 4: Health-Related Issues
Those who suffer vision problems are particularly susceptible to slips and falls. Many elderly persons have difficulties with balance. Others experience loss of lower body strength. Even a loss of stamina can produce a serious slip and fall. Various medications – tranquilizers, sedatives, antidepressants, or even some over-the-counter drugs – can affect one’s ability to ambulate safely.
Factor 5: Age of the Person Walking
Each year in the United States, one of every three persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall. Some 50 percent of those in this age group who fall are repeat fallers. A significant number of these falls occur because of neglect in a nursing home setting. Unfortunately, many of these falls result in traumatic brain injury.
Slip and Fall Victims May Have Rights to Recovery for Their Damages
Recovery of damages for a slip and fall injury is not always assured. One generally has to establish three principles:
- That the premises owner had a duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the site where the slip and fall occurred
- That the premises owner breached that duty
- That the breach was the proximate (or legal) cause of the resulting injury or injuries
California is a Comparative Negligence State
Bear in mind also that California is a comparative negligence state. That means that even if the slip and fall victim is partially to blame for his or her injuries, there can still be a recovery. A fall victim who is somewhat responsible for his or her own injury (though not entirely responsible) may have their total damages reduced by their degree of fault.
Skilled Legal Counsel is Generally a Key to Recovery in Slip and Fall Cases
In most cases, a slip and fall victim will find it impractical or even impossible to pursue the claim on his or her own. Expert legal counsel is usually required. The attorneys at Neale & Fhima have provided skilled, aggressive, and sympathetic legal representation to injury victims for many years. Working out of Dana Point, San Diego, and Los Angeles, our firm has a long and successful track record in representing persons who have sustained personal injury. In fact, Matt Neale has helped clients recover more than $40 million in damages during his decades as an attorney. He is a tough negotiator and litigator. He is well-respected by judges and other attorneys in the Southern California legal community, and the insurance companies know that he isn’t afraid to take his clients’ cases to trial. Aaron Fhima has a long record of success in taking on large defense firms and in aggressively pursuing his client’s interest. Aaron doesn’t hesitate to take cases to trial when necessary in order to enforce his clients’ rights and to make sure that they receive just compensation. Recognize that there are time limits for filing slip and fall claims, so don’t delay. Request a free consultation by calling us at 1-888-407-2955 or complete our online form.