At the same time, despite how common slipping and falling can be, it can also be a leading cause of crippling injuries and, for some, even result in death. But how can such a common accident carry so much inherent risk?
The Potential For Hazard
The majority of slips and falls do not result in anything serious. However, one out of every five falls results in a broken bone or even a severe head injury. These are the falls that can lead to serious, sometimes even permanent consequences.
One of the primary reasons people sustain injuries from a slip and fall is due to height. The higher a person is, the more speed accumulates during the fall, resulting in a harder impact and greater risk of injury. This is one reason why industrial occupations, such as the construction of office buildings, carry a high risk. A fall from the top of an office building can be crippling or even fatal.
However, height is not the only factor that affects why a slip and fall can be severe. There are a few other factors that can be just important, including:
Very young children and very old seniors are both more vulnerable to falls. A child is not yet fully developed, and even a fall from an adult's chest level can be serious. With the elderly, age, and lifestyle choices such as nutrition or medical conditions such as bone loss result in "brittle bones" that are much more fragile and prone to breaking.
Where an impact occurs can be just as important as how much force is involved in the fall. Someone that slips, falls, and lands on their neck, for example, can become paralyzed as a result of this fall, even if it wasn't very far. And if someone sustains a head injury, traumatic brain injury can easily result from a fall of even a low height.
Some Falls Are Preventable
While a slip and fall can happen anywhere at any time, there are some instances where people are the victims of negligence. Anyone that owns a property, whether that's private, or public, has a legal responsibility known as "duty of care." This means that property owners must take reasonable precautions to ensure a safe environment for visitors or even workers or customers.
If a slip and fall occurred because of a known risk that was ignored, then a property owner has breached duty of care and has committed "Premises Liability," which means they are legally and financially responsible for the injury that took place.
So, for example, if an office building has a stairwell with no windows, the lights burn out, the light bulbs should be replaced. A pitch-black stairwell means someone going up or down can easily trip, slip, and fall. If someone does fall as a result of that pitch-black stairwell, this is premises liability. The accident victim may go to court because this injury could have been easily avoided if the property owners had exercised duty of care and replaced the light bulbs so people could easily traverse the stairwell.
If you are the victim of a slip and fall due to a property owner's negligence, we can help. Talk to an experienced slip and fall lawyer about your situation, and see what your next steps should be.