When you slip and fall and sustain minor injuries, it’s embarrassing, but you get back up and you keep walking. Unfortunately, sometimes a fall is far more serious. If you fall down a flight of steps, trip on a hard surface, or fall from one elevation to another, you may require emergency treatment. Some fall-related injuries cause serious damage to your brain, back, and limbs. Due to age-related frailties, seniors are particularly vulnerable to serious injury.
Fall-related injuries sometimes cause serious or catastrophic medical conditions. Treatment is often expensive, and can last indefinitely. Falls sometimes cause disabling injuries that interfere with your ability to work and care for your family. A single fall sometimes leads to a lifetime of physical and financial consequences.
Take steps to protect your legal rights by calling the personal injury lawyers at the Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman. We have the experience and resources to investigate your claim, evaluate your case, and fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Negligent Property Owners Should Pay
At Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Attorneys, we believe that negligent property owners should take responsibility for unsafe conditions that cause harm. Our attorneys have handled cases for injured clients only. We’ve seen how negligent property owners sometimes blame injured people for causing their own injuries. Our attorneys have fought against their refusals to accept responsibility for their actions.
We have investigated our clients’ cases, evaluated the evidence, and placed all responsible parties on notice. We have worked hard to obtain the best outcomes possible for our injured clients.
Our attorneys have worked with many seriously or catastrophically injured clients. We’ve seen how a single fall can change their lives and affect their family relationships. We’ve always understood that a settlement couldn’t give our clients back their health; nonetheless, we have recovered money for our clients to help minimize the physical and financial struggles their injuries caused.
Our Firm’s Results
At Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers, we’ve always provided compassionate legal services for our clients. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in judgments and settlements by putting our clients first. We’ve resolved our clients’ cases in a way that was best for their circumstances. When responsible parties and their insurance carriers responded fairly, we’ve resolved our clients’ cases through aggressive negotiation. We’ve worked with mediators in Alternative Dispute Resolution forums. When a trial was the best option, we’ve prepared our cases and presented our evidence before a judge and jury.
Each case is different. While past results can’t guarantee a specific outcome in each case, we share our case results to give you insight into our commitment to our injured clients. In one slip and fall case, the defendants originally denied liability for the poor parking lot maintenance that caused our client’s injuries. We helped to recover a $300,000 settlement.
Slip and Falls Happen Every Day, Everywhere
Slip and Falls are common, but they can still take you by surprise. It’s difficult to detect some hazards, even when you remain watchful. Once you lose your footing, the rest of your body enters a freefall that sometimes ends with serious or catastrophic injuries.
Eye-Opening Slip and Fall Statistics
Slip and fall hazards are everywhere. People slip on poorly maintained walkways and they fall down inadequately lit staircases. Children trip in parks, on playgrounds, and in school hallways. People fall because of slippery or poorly cleaned surfaces. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations and agencies track the statistics:
Each year the CDC documents 800,000 emergency room visits for fall-related injuries.
One out of five falls causes fractures, head injuries, and other serious conditions.
Falls cause 95 percent of older adult hospitalizations for hip fractures.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration consistently documents falls as the number one cause of construction-related fatalities.
Falls caused 28 percent of the 17,317 brain injury cases the National Data and Statistical Center tracks.
Falls caused 31.8 percent Of the 33,406 spinal cord injuries in the National Spinal Cord Statistical Center database.
Falls cause more non-fatal injuries than any other incidents for children age 19 and under.
8,000 children visit an emergency room each day for fall-related injuries.
Common Slip and Falls Locations
A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere. That’s why they are so common. They’re often a consequence of poor maintenance or inadequate safety precautions. They occur in all areas, on all types of properties, and in public and private spaces.
- Garages, parking lots, and sidewalks
- Nursing Homes
- Malls and grocery stores
- Private residences
- Multi-family unit buildings
- Restaurants and entertainment venues
- Hotels, motels, and resorts
- Sports arenas and stadiums
- Construction, industrial, and manufacturing locations
- Commercial office buildings
- Amusement parks and public spaces
Slip and Fall Injuries on the Job
Slip and fall hazards create problems in workplaces where many hazards already exist. Fall hazards are such a problem on construction sites, OSHA has special training programs to help workers recognize and manage them. As the OSHA “Focus Four: Fall Hazards” training document explains, “…any walking or working surface can be a potential fall hazard.“
Workers in construction and industrial operations often deal with enhanced slip and fall hazards. Their job duties sometimes require walking and working on elevated surfaces. When a person falls under these circumstances, it increases the potential for traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and other serious, catastrophic, or fatal conditions. When a worker falls due to poor maintenance or a workplace hazard, worker’s compensation coverage should meet an employer’s obligation to pay an injured employee’s medical bills and lost income.
An injured employee rarely has additional recourse against an employer, but they often have additional recovery options:
- When an independent contractor or non-coworker is responsible for the condition which causes an accident.
- When a worker sustains a slip and fall injury due to a defective or malfunctioning product not manufactured by the worker’s employer.
- If a worker falls because of a defect, hazard, or maintenance problem while working on a property not owned or operated by their employer.
Slip and Fall Injuries
When a person slips and falls to a hard surface, they may sustain simple bruises and abrasions; but in some cases, it’s far more serious than that. A falling person strikes a surface with such force, it’s sometimes impossible to avoid serious or catastrophic injuries. The potential for injuries increases when a fall occurs while a person is coming down a staircase or falls from a higher to a lower elevation.
Before you try to get up and walk away, spend a moment and think things through. If you’re injured, get help. Dial 911 for an ambulance if you require immediate emergency treatment. While you’re waiting for an ambulance to arrive, document the accident scene. A brief site investigation often preserves evidence that can help you hold the property owner responsible for hazards and maintenance failures.
- Look around and figure out what caused your fall.
- Don’t apologize or say the fall was your fault.
- Use your smartphone to take photos of the area and any dangerous conditions or defects.
- Take a picture of your shoes.
- Ask someone to notify the property owner on your behalf or call when you have an opportunity.
As older and younger victims’ bodies aren’t tough enough to withstand the force of a hard fall, they often sustain serious injuries.
- Traumatic brain injury: Falls are the second-highest cause of traumatic brain injuries. People who sustain severe TBIs struggle with physical, psychological, emotional, and cognitive impairments. Some have consciousness issues from which they never recover.
- Spinal cord injuries: Falls are the number two cause of spinal cord injuries. SCIs vary in severity and in the physical impairments they cause. Damage to the spine causes paralysis and problems with bodily functions at and below the point where the injury is located on the spine.
- Serious/multiple fractures: Slip and fall victims of all ages sustain fractures when they fall on hard surfaces. Falls are usually far more serious for seniors because of their physical frailty. When an older person falls, they often sustain hip, pelvis or other serious fractures that require hospitalization and long-term care.
- Internal organ damage: When a patient sustains a pelvic or spinal fracture, the fractured bones sometimes cause internal organ damage.
Who Is Responsible for Slip and Fall Injuries?
The owner is legally responsible for making sure a property is safe and free of hazards. An owner’s duties are greatest when they operate a business and invite people to enter their property. A property owner owes a trespasser no duty to provide a safe or secure premises.
- Subcontractors: When an owner subcontracts his maintenance and security obligations, he doesn’t necessarily rid himself of an obligation to make sure his property is safe. Management, security, maintenance, and other subcontracted service-providers may share liability with the owner.
- Tenants: When an owner leases a property or a portion of a property to another person or business, the tenant is usually contractually liable for incidents involving their rented space. A tenant often shares the owner’s liability if they create a hazard in a shared or common space.
What Damages Can a Slip and Fall Victim Recover?
A typical injury settlement includes economic, general, and sometimes punitive damages.
Economic damages include out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of an injury. If a person is still receiving treatment or losing wages when they finalize a claim or lawsuit, the settlement also includes money for future expenses. For the purposes of settlement, an economic expert projects future costs. Economic damages often include:
- Lost income
- Physician and surgeon fees
- Scar revision surgeries
- Mobility devices and prostheses
- Therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Medical transportation
- Replacement services
- Funeral and burial expenses
General damages reimburse an injured person for their emotional, psychological, and lifestyle losses. These are usually based on the injured person’s subjective assessments. General damages often include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished spousal and family relationships
- Lifestyle changes
- Lost bodily functions
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent impairments and physical limitations
In some cases, courts award punitive damages when a plaintiff proves that a defendant’s actions were wanton, willful, intentional, grossly negligent, or otherwise egregious.
How Does a Property Owner Defend a Slip and Fall Claim?
When a property owner turns in a slip and fall claim to a liability insurance carrier, there’s often a degree of doubt concerning both the circumstances and the injuries. Some owners don’t take slip and fall accidents and injuries seriously. They sometimes see them as a fraudulent attempt to produce a settlement. When they report a claim, they usually make sure their insurance company understands their thoughts on liability.
Medical Payments Coverage Offers
When a case involves serious injuries, an insurance company usually conducts a full investigation. They may ultimately deny liability for the case but soften the blow with an offer to pay an injured plaintiff’s medical bills. This often occurs only when the insured has Medical Payments coverage on their policy. To the injured person, it seems like a settlement concession, but Medical Payments coverage pays for premises-related injuries regardless of fault.
When a person doesn’t have a legal representative looking out for them, they often accept the Medical Payments coverage benefits as a settlement and walk away. If the injured person doesn’t ask for anything else, the insurance company often closes its file with no further action.
Low Settlement Offers
If an insurance company decides to settle a slip and fall case, they often approach it from a questionable liability perspective. Unless the problem that caused the injuries was hidden or extremely hazardous, insurance companies sometimes offer only minimal settlements for even the most serious cases. Insurers understand that a plaintiff may choose to accept an offer rather than deal with discovery and trial expenses.
Defenses at Trial
Insurance companies often feel positive about their chances of winning a slip and fall case in court. When they fail to offer an adequate settlement, they often force a plaintiff to try a case. Their defense attorneys plead traditional defenses to minimize the damages or win the case based on liability issues.
- No negligence: Defending the case by proving that the property owner wasn’t negligent. They may try to prove that a plaintiff’s footwear or some other personal issue caused the fall.
- Plaintiff’s status on the premises: If the defense proves that the plaintiff was a trespasser, they pay nothing.
- Visible warning: Property owners try defending a case by proving that they posted a warning of the hazard that caused the injury.
- Damages: Defendants often allege that the plaintiff sustained their injuries elsewhere or that the injuries weren’t as serious as alleged.
Our slip and fall attorneys are experienced negotiators and litigators. We’ve defeated creative insurance company defense strategies by reviewing the evidence and evaluating our cases long before a negotiation session, mediation or trial. We’ve provided the best outcomes for our clients because we’ve prepared our cases to win.
Call Our Slip and Fall Attorneys Now
If you sustained an injury from a fall on someone else’s property, you need a legal representative who will do whatever it takes to protect your legal rights. Dolman Law Group and Sibley Dolman Accident Injury Lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. Let us determine if we can help you. You can reach us by phone at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH). You may also visit our Contact Page to begin a live chat or complete our contact form. We’ll arrange a consultation to discuss your case.