Regardless of how healthy and strong you are, hard falls can cause devastating injuries. Whether you land on your outstretched arm, hit your head, or fall onto your knee, it’s possible that you could need medical attention after a slip and fall accident. Once you’ve had your medical needs addressed, you may then find yourself in a position with lasting pain and steep medical bills. While many falls are simply due to accidents and bad luck, there are frequent cases of negligence on the part of business owners who don’t maintain safe premises.
The slip and fall injury lawyers at the New York Law Office of Friedman Levy are ready to represent you when you have experienced such a serious injury. They will be able to explore the legal options available to you up to three years after your fall. But what causes slip and fall accidents in the first place? In this article, we’ll examine the common causes of such cases and what to do if you are a victim of these types of accidents.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Many of these accidents occur at businesses due to construction or maintenance issues. While there is a plethora of causes for slips and falls, let’s examine seven of the main ones.
- Wet Floors. Whether floors are wet from rain, snow, or just routine cleaning; wet floors are a disaster waiting to happen. Wet spots are often difficult to see and by the time you notice them, it’s too late and your foot has already slipped. Business owners need to be diligently monitoring for wet floors and cleaning them frequently, especially during snowy and rainy seasons.
- Poor Lighting. Humans are very visual creatures. When we can’t rely on our sight to guide us, we tend to have great difficulty in navigating an area. This is why badly lit areas frequently lead to falls. If we can’t see where we are going, we’re more likely to trip or misstep. The fix for a business’s visibility issues is usually quite simple: improve the lighting.
- Uneven Surfaces. If a walking surface is uneven from poor construction, a bunched-up carpet/rug, or water damage, it can create a significant tripping hazard. When we’re walking, we don’t expect the ground surface to suddenly change. However, if it does, it can be difficult to adjust and catch ourselves. Regardless of what has caused the floor to be uneven in a business, the hazard needs to be indicated with clear signage and addressed as quickly as possible.
- Crumbling Stairs. Staircases are tricky to navigate under the best conditions. But when steps are breaking or crumbling, they can be nearly impossible to safely traverse. Trip and fall accidents on the stairs are unique in that the person who falls bears the risk of tumbling all the way down the staircase and sustaining additional injuries compared to falling on flat ground. Steps and handrails need to be frequently evaluated and maintained to ensure that no one sustains a tragic injury while attempting to negotiate them.
- Obstructed Pathways. A cluttered pathway is an extremely dangerous sight to see. Having to step over and around objects is risky enough. Add to that being distracted while talking with a friend or answering a call, and a slip and fall accident becomes much more likely. It is essential that businesses keep pathways clear and clutter-free to eliminate tripping hazards.
- Icy Walkways. Slip and fall accidents on ice are an extremely common occurrence. During the winter months, walkways can look like an ice rink, if they are not properly salted. Icy walkways are particularly dangerous due to the hard ground underneath and the inability to hold onto anything for support while crossing the slippery section.
- Potholes in Parking Lots. Potholes can develop quickly and cause many issues for drivers. However, the problems caused by potholes are not limited to cars; walkers can also suffer injury from stepping into one. Potholes can be hard to see and if they are not clearly marked or quickly filled, they may lead to a serious injury.
You’ve Suffered a Slip and Fall Accident: What Now?
After you’ve sustained a trip and fall accident, there are a series of steps you should follow to ensure that you are not stuck with expensive medical bills and injuries that will affect you for years to come.
- Seek Prompt Medical Attention. Even if you feel fine, it is important that you are examined by a qualified professional, as some injuries sustained after a slip and fall accident are not always immediately apparent. Also, having the documentation from the healthcare practitioner will strengthen your legal case, should you need to go forward with litigation.
- Report the Accident. As soon as possible, be sure to report the accident to a person of authority at the business in question. Requesting a written report further strengthens your case if needed.
- Take Photos of the Area. Having photographic evidence of the hazard that caused your fall is extremely helpful for your legal strategy. As the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words.
- Collect Eyewitness Accounts and Contact Information. If anyone was nearby during the event, make sure you have access to their statement.
If you’ve suffered a slip and fall accident, hopefully, you have no lingering issues and are able to continue on with your life. However, should you need to pursue legal action, it is highly advisable to enlist the services of experienced slip and fall attorneys. While you’re recovering from your accident, you need to focus your energy on your health. Let our team of legal professionals deal with everything else.