According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year in the United States, both young and old are treated in emergency departments for injuries from slips, trips, and falls. These types of accidents can cause serious injuries, including broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
When you fall, however, it's important to know that you have legal rights. If you've been injured as a result of a slip, trip, or fall, an attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. A lawyer can investigate your case and help build a strong case against the person or company responsible.
What Are Slips, Trips, and Falls?
A slip, trip, or fall (STF) is an event that results from a person coming into contact with an unstable or wet surface that is below them. This can lead to the person falling to the ground, which can cause injuries.
Slips happen when a person's foot slides out from under them on a surface they are standing on. Trips happen when a person's foot catches on an object they are walking by, causing them to lose balance and fall. Aside from slipping and tripping, falls may also be caused by losing footing on a ladder or other height, or when the floor below them suddenly caves in.
Slips, Trips, and Falls - A Serious Workplace Hazard
Slips, trips, and falls are serious hazards in the workplace. They account for the majority of general industry accidents and can cause serious injuries, such as fractures, head injuries, and lacerations. Many slips, trips, and falls occur because of unsafe walking surfaces, such as wet floors, icy conditions, and cracked or uneven pavement. Poor lighting is also a causal factor.
Can Slips, Trips, and Falls Be Prevented?
There are many ways that slips, trips, and falls can be prevented. Some methods are more effective than others, but by and large, following safety protocols can significantly reduce the chances of an accident.
For factories, homes, and offices, flooring should be kept clean and dry, and any spills or hazards should be promptly addressed. Equipment should be properly maintained and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Wearing the proper shoes and using caution when working around cords and cables are also advised.
What Are Some Laws in Place To Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls?
Employers have an obligation to create and maintain a safe working environment for their employees. Yes, slips, trips, and falls can be prevented by ensuring that all employees are properly trained in how to safely work in the environment. This includes actively removing, obstructions and hazards, properly labeling danger zones, lighting walking paths, as well as providing safety gear such as non-slip shoes and gloves. In addition, it is important to routinely inspect the workplace for potential hazards.
Builders too, of both residential and industrial structures, need to follow the building code in order to ensure that walkways and staircases, etc., are safely constructed and well-lit.
Who Can Be Held Liable if There Is a Slip, Trip, or Fall?
Slip, trip, and fall accidents can happen in any number of places, from grocery stores to workplaces. In general, any adult can be held liable if there is a slip, trip, or fall if they are negligent. This means that they did not take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of those around them, and as a result, someone was injured.
For example, if a storeowner knows that their floor is wet and does not take measures to warn customers or place signage indicating the danger, they could be held liable if someone slips and falls. In other instances, the property owner or manager, a contractor hired to work on the property, or another individual or company who may have been negligent in causing the accident could be held liable.
Proving Liability for a Slip, Trip, or Fall
In order to establish liability in a slip, trip, or fall accident, the victim will need to show that the party responsible for the accident owed them a duty of care and that they failed in that duty. For example, property owners are typically required to keep their premises safe and free of hazards. If they fail to do so and someone is injured as a result, they may be held liable.
To prove that a defendant failed in their duty of care, the plaintiff must typically show that the defendant knew or should have known about the danger that caused the plaintiff's injury. The plaintiff must also show that the defendant did not take reasonable steps to prevent the injury.
Contact Our Wilmington Personal Injury Law Firm
If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip, trip, or fall accident in North Carolina, contact our law firm to speak with a North Carolina slip and fall attorney for a free consultation. We have over 25 years of experience helping injured victims get the compensation they deserve and can help you with establishing liability, filing a claim, and getting recompense from the at-fault party. Get Flexner Houser. We’re serious.