A seemingly small slip and fall accident can cause serious injuries. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common premises liability cases. At J.D. Silva & Associates, we have a strong reputation for holding negligent parties accountable for their actions. Our slip and fall lawyers in Pearland are here to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
How Common Are Slip and Fall Accidents in Pearland?
Every year, thousands of Texans are seriously injured in slip and fall accidents. According to the latest data, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of death and injury in the workplace. In the last reporting year, more than 15 percent of all occupational fatalities were due to slip and fall accidents.
The severity and prevalence of these accidents have led to multiple research projects and preventative initiatives from several organizations. The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) recently released a report on the collected data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Safety Council (NSC).
According to the records, slip and fall accidents are responsible for over one million emergency room visits each year. In addition:
- Slip and falls are the leading cause of accidental injuries, accounting for 20.8 percent of ER visits
- Half of all unintentional deaths in the home are due to slip and fall accidents
- Approximately two million slip and fall injuries are due to flooring materials
- Fractures are the most common slip and fall injury, affecting over five percent of victims
People over the age of 65 are disproportionately affected by slip and fall injuries. Nearly 67 percent of fatal falls involve people aged 75 years or older. Despite advancements in health and well-being, accidental slip and fall injuries are responsible for 40 percent of nursing home admissions. Negligence is the largest contributing factor to slip and fall injuries.
What Are the Leading Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?
People may slip and fall in any number of circumstances. However, most cases of negligent slip and fall accidents occur because of:
Uneven and Wet Surfaces
Uneven and wet surfaces are the leading cause of slips and fall accidents. Some examples include:
- Uneven floorboards
- Disheveled mats and uneven carpeting
- Loose floorboards
- Cluttered walkways
- Uneven or broken sidewalks
- Ice and snow-covered surfaces
- Surfaces wet from rain or a spill
- Improperly constructed staircases
- Freshly waxed or mopped floors
Uneven and wet surfaces account for the most slip and fall injuries at a business establishment and in the home.
Nursing Home Neglect
Slip and fall injuries affect those 65 and older more frequently and severely than any other age group. As we age, our bodies tend to take significantly longer to recover. In addition, older adults have numerous conditions that can contribute to the severity of an injury.
For instance, older adults may suffer from the following circumstances:
- Bone loss
- Loss of muscle mass
- Heart disease
- Diminished reflexes
Many older adults live in nursing homes to prevent unintentional injuries like falling. When a nursing home fails to provide adequate care, residents can suffer extensive injuries in a slip and fall accident.
Inadequate Safety Training
Occupational safety training is critical to fall prevention. Safety training depends on the duties and responsibilities of the work. For example, roofers will have different fall prevention strategies than someone who works on an oil rig.
Proper training also helps employees be more mindful of the safety of their coworkers and visitors. By establishing a set of rules and procedures, many slip and fall accidents can be prevented.
Poor lighting severely diminishes a person’s capacity to judge their surroundings. Dim parking lots, dark buildings, and rooms with hard-to-find light switches pose a serious fall hazard.
A property owner may be liable for a slip and fall accident if they fail to install proper lighting on walkways or illuminate stairwells.
Broken or Damaged Handrails
Handrails are a necessary safety feature. Whether guiding people up and down a set of stairs or through a walkway, handrails aid and support visitors. Failing to properly maintain these safety features can lead to serious injuries.
People expect handrails to be able to support part of their weight as they use them to propel themselves up a staircase or through a corridor. If the railing breaks, a person can be thrust forward unexpectantly.
Cluttered walkways are among the top causes of slip or trip and falls. Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises as safe as possible. Common examples of walkway hazards may involve:
- Stray cords
- Electrical wires
- Tools and construction supplies (e.g., paint cans, stray building materials)
- Children and pet toys
Whether it is a construction zone or a grocery store, walkways should be maintained and kept clear of unnecessary objects. Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious and life-threatening injuries.
Are Slip and Fall Injuries Serious?
People can sustain severe injuries in a slip and fall accident. Most slip and fall emergency room visits involve:
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Cuts and abrasions
- Spinal cord damage
The deadliest slip and fall injuries are hip bone fractures. More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by slip and fall accidents.
Hip fractures have a high risk of complications, especially for older adults. For those over the age of 65, a hip fracture can leave them immobile for an extended amount of time. This can lead to blood clots, bed sores, and urinary tract infections.
How Can a Pearland Slip and Fall Lawyer Establish Liability?
In order to establish a slip and fall accident claim, a personal injury attorney must prove negligence. Unfortunate happenings or unforeseeable events are not automatically seen as an involving negligence. Under the legal theory of premises liability, negligence occurs when a person or entity acts without regard or care for the safety of others.
For example, suppose a grocery clerk drops a gallon of milk on the floor and leaves to gather cleaning supplies without putting the “wet floor” sign.
The act of spilling the milk is not negligent; however, the failure to put up a warning sign to alert potential shoppers of the danger is careless. If a person is injured by slipping and falling on the wet floor, they can lodge a premises liability claim against the store.
Duty Of Care
Property owners owe a duty of care to the people that visit their establishments, homes, or land. The term “duty of care” refers to the responsibility of a property owner to ensure their premises is safe from all reasonable harm.
What is considered reasonable or not can be difficult to establish; however, comparing the actions of property owners in similar circumstances will usually set a strong standard.
For example, suppose a property owner knows that some exposed wires are coming out of the wall. It is reasonable to expect a visitor to be electrocuted or injured by the exposed wires. A property owner must take steps to fix the electrocution hazard and warn any potential visitors.
In addition, establishing a duty of care depends on the type of visitor that was injured. Visitors can be:
- Family and friends who have been invited
- Customers during an establishment’s hours of operation
- Young children
Property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers.
Breach Of Duty
A breach of duty occurs when a property owner fails to act with care or concern for their visitors. More specifically, it occurs in the moment they fail to uphold their duty of care.
For instance, suppose a homeowner throws a party and fails to warn their guests that the steps are broken. A breach of duty has occurred because the homeowner did not warn guests of the potential danger. If someone slips and falls due to the uneven and broken staircase, they may have an injury claim against the homeowner.
A person must sustain injuries for a slip and fall claim to exist. In the example above, it must be established that the person who slipped on the uneven staircase suffered an injury.
If the person broke their wrist or sustained a head injury in the fall, they have damages to recover. However, if the person slips and falls on the broken stairs and is unharmed, there is no case.
Causation can be challenging. After a slip and fall lawyer establishes that the victim sustained injuries, they must prove that those injuries were directly the result of the fall. To successfully recover full financial compensation, consult a skilled and experienced slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible.
What Compensation Can a Slip and Fall Attorney in Pearland Recover?
A Pearland slip and fall lawyer can recover economic and non-economic compensation. Generally, compensation is derived from specific damages your attorney will claim. Economic damages consist of expenses related to the injury. Non-economic damages are awarded for intangible expenses, like physical and mental pain.
Damages in a slip and fall accident will depend on the circumstances of your case. Some of the most common types of damages involve:
- Full compensation for medical expenses
- Loss of future income
- Lost wages during the time you were unable to work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Every slip and fall injury claim is unique. It is best to speak with an experienced premises liability attorney to determine the damages you are qualified to recover in your case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Slip and Fall Accidents
When Will A Property Owner Be Held Financially Responsible For My Injuries?
Texas law states property owners who know or should have known about a dangerous condition or hazard on their property have a duty to warn visitors. If they fail to warn visitors of the hazard or repair the damage, the property owner may be held responsible for any injuries.
An experienced Pearland slip and fall lawyer can discuss the details of your case and assess your damages. The total value of your slip and fall accident claim will depend on the extent of your injuries and the type of establishment where the incident occurred.
What Steps Should I Take After A Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accident claims are challenging. However, there are certain steps you can take to protect your rights and the integrity of your claim.
Be sure to:
- File an injury report right away
- Take pictures of your surroundings, the cause of the accident, and your injuries
- Get the contact information from the property owner, supervisors, and any potential witnesses
- Seek immediate medical attention, even if you do not feel hurt at the moment
Adrenaline can mask pain and other signs of being hurt. Some symptoms of an injury can have delayed onset. Soft-tissue damage and head injuries frequently have delayed symptoms. Many seemingly minor injuries can become serious or life-threatening. It is crucial to have a doctor examine you after a slip and fall accident to determine the true extent of your injuries.
Where Do Most Slip and Fall Injuries Occur?
Most slip and fall injuries occur in the workplace or at home. Occupational slip and fall accidents are not the primary cause of workplace fatalities, however, they do account for the most days missed by employees.
Among those 65 and older, slip and fall accidents mostly happen in the home. In addition, older adults tend to sustain greater injuries and have longer recovery times. As a result, nursing home admissions have continued to rise.
How Long Does a Slip and Fall Claim Take in Pearland?
According to Texas law, slip and fall claims must be filed within two years of the incident. Personal injury cases are subject to a statute of limitations. Victims only have a 24-month window within which they can file a lawsuit to recover the damages they deserve. If you or a loved one have been hurt in a slip and fall accident, contact a premises liability attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.
Why Work with a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Pearland, Texas?
At JD Silva & Associates, our Pearland slip and fall lawyers are here to help. We will work tirelessly to understand the full impact of your injuries and recover the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall accident, schedule a free consultation to discuss the unique circumstances of your case today.