The main thing that stops people from seeking damages after a slip and fall is embarrassment. Even employees on the job are hesitant about filing a worker’s compensation claim out of concern of the response of coworkers. Many associate falls with clumsiness and are embarrassed, especially if it results in a significant injury. However, falls have causes. If a cause is attributable to negligence in required maintenance, repairs or safety equipment, that is a fall that could have been avoided altogether.
Example 1 – A Fall in a Grocery Store
A customer slipping on the wet floor in the produce section of a grocery store received a concussion and a broken arm. The customer was unaware that an automatic misting system was used to periodically wet the produce with water. Some of the water wet the tile floor. The customer slipped and was injured.
Example 2 – A Fall at a Public Rest Area
A motorist stopped at a rest area operated by the state. The person was walking along a sidewalk that was mostly in good condition except for one spot on an incline leading up to a door. The concrete sidewalk had shifted and was higher on the right side. This was the only part of the walk in poor condition. She caught her toe on the raised portion falling forward, breaking both arms. One year later, the state still had not repaired the sidewalk even though it was reported.
Example 3 – A Fall in a Dimly Lit Parking Lot
A parking lot of a major retail department store was in excellent shape in most areas but had significant potholes in isolated sections. A customer was walking to her car at night and stepped into a hole she did not see. She fell, tearing ligaments in her shoulder, and she also hurt her neck and back. She was bedridden in severe pain for weeks. The retailer leased the property from a property management firm. After it was settled who was responsible for maintenance of the lot, damages were recovered.
Example 4 – Falling on the Job
There are many laws in place specific to precautions and safety measures that absolutely must be in place to protect employees. Company policies also usually spell out safety measures in protocols and equipment that must be used. Sometimes equipment designed to protect an employee is missing, inadequate or in disrepair. Sometimes managers pressure employees to speed things up and cut corners when it comes to safety. Employees also have rights under the law to seek damages for slips and fall injuries.
Example 5 – Residential Sidewalk Fall
Most homeowners are responsible for maintaining sidewalks around their homes even though they are open to public use. A man who regularly kept his sidewalk clear of snow fell when he was walking to his car. He had to step from his cleared walk onto an uncleared walk of his neighbor. His injuries required knee surgery. Local ordinances required keeping sidewalks clear of snow and ice.
Do not neglect to contact a personal injury attorney for a slip and fall situation where there were injuries. Insurance companies for the businesses and property owners are not going to willingly write a check. However, a competent lawyer knows what it takes to recover the costs of medical expenses, lost wages and other costs for those who have been injured.
David Benowitz is one of the founders of Price Benowitz LLP and selected as one of the Top 100 attorneys of Washington, DC by National Trial Lawyers association. He is licensed to practice law as Maryland injury attorney and spent his career fighting his client’s rights.