FAQ About Slips, Trips & Falls
What kind of injuries result from slips, trips & falls?
Possible injuries from a trip and fall accident range from the fairly mild (such as cuts and bruises) to death. Other possible injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Slip-and-fall accidents are especially dangerous to the elderly, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes.
What kind of expenses can be compensated in a lawsuit resulting from slips, trips and falls?
If you have fallen and injured yourself, you may want to sue the property owner or tenant to recover the expenses caused by your injuries. With a lawsuit, you may sue to recover:
- Your medical bills, including transportation costs for your medical treatment and therapy
- Lost wages both immediately after the fall and possibly into the future if you are permanently incapacitated
- Pain and suffering
- Potential future medical expenses
- Loss of consortium, which means damage to your relationship with your spouse or family
How do you prove the possessor of a property caused your slip and fall?
Property owners or their tenants have a duty to care for their property so that visitors are safe. This means keeping surfaces clean from spills, obstacles, holes, and other hazards that would cause people to fall and injure themselves. If the possessor of the property has failed to do that, the victim may claim he or she is entitled to an award under premises liability law.
Time is an important component to proving that a property owner or tenant did not exercise reasonable care. If a glass jar falls and breaks in a grocery store and a few moments later someone trips on it, the store may be off the hook, as it is not reasonable to expect the store to know about the hazard and clean it up within seconds.
If, however, you can show - perhaps through video surveillance recordings - that the potential hazard existed for a long period of time, you probably have a stronger case.
In slip-and-fall accidents, the victim may also bear some of the responsibility. A person is expected to take reasonable care to watch where they are going. If a jury decides you were 25 percent responsible for your fall, then you may receive only 75 percent of an award. This is called comparative negligence.
What about slips, trips and falls in the workplace? Can I sue my employer for my fall?
Generally, you cannot sue your employer if you fall at work because those kind of injuries are covered under your states workers compensation laws.
What type of information is an insurance adjuster looking for?
An insurance adjuster will look at the circumstances of the claim, determine whether there was an injury, and decide how much responsibility you bear for your own trip-and-fall accident. The adjuster may ask you:
- How you were injured, and the extent of your injuries
- What you were doing just before the accident
- Whether there were any warnings posted in the area of your accident
- Whether you had a reason for being in the area
An insurance adjuster will be looking to get the victim of a slip-and-fall accident to agree to a settlement. If you believe you have expenses that exceed the property owners or tenants insurance limits or if you believe that your fall-related expenses may be spread out over many years, it is better to consult with an attorney who is familiar with slip-and-fall injury cases before talking to an insurance company representative.