According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), the vast majority of falls that occur in the U.S. each year are falls on the same level, as opposed to falls where you topple from one elevation to another. In fact, a full 60 percent of compensable fall injuries occur on the same elevation. These falls may occur when you slip or stumble. They can result in injuries ranging from broken bones to death.
Unfortunately, the cost of fall injuries in the U.S. is significant. When factoring in all falls, an estimated $13-$14 million dollars is spent due to injuries each year in the U.S. These costs can include medical costs, lost productivity, lost earnings and workers’ compensation claims. In some cases, these costs are borne by employers. In other instances, the fall may be caused by the negligence of a property owner who is held responsible in a personal injury claim.
If you have been the victim of a slip and fall and believe someone else should be held liable for the costs of your injuries, the Atlanta slip-and-fall accident lawyers at The Millar Law Firm can help. Our attorneys have been representing victims of falls throughout Georgia since 1995. Our firm has helped our Atlanta friends receive millions of dollars in fair settlement and verdict payments. Give us a call today at 770-400-0000 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you.
Different Types of Atlanta Slip and Fall Accidents
Fall accidents can be divided into four different types of fall situations:
- Slips and falls – This basic type of slip-and-fall accident occurs when your foot doesn’t fall correctly on the ground to support your center of gravity and your feet slip out from beneath you.
- Trips and falls – These accidents occur when you are walking and encounter debris or an obstacle in your path, causing you to trip over it.
- Stumps and falls – These accidents occur when your foot gets caught on some impediment when you are walking. This impediment, for example, might be a torn piece of carpet.
- Steps and falls – These accidents occur when your foot doesn’t fall where it expected to when you take a step forward. If there is a dip in the pavement, this can result in a step-and-fall accident.
Anyone can have one of these common types of slip-and-fall accidents. However, the NFSI reports that women are slightly more likely to become the victim of a job-related fatality due to a fall then men are. The elderly are also more likely to experience a fall injury than younger adults, and they are more likely to suffer serious harm as a result of the fall. In fact, half of adults 65 and older who suffer a fall and fracture their hip will never return to living independently.
Where Do Atlanta Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
Slip-and-fall accidents can and will happen nearly anywhere. However, certain locations present a greater risk. For example, slip-and-fall injuries commonly occur:
- When you are working – Falls account for 16 percent of all workers’ compensation claims and 26 percent of all workers’ compensation costs, according to Insurance industry studies.
- When you are in your home or someone else’s home – Around half of all fatalities that occur in the home occur as a result of a fall, the NFSI says.
- When you are at a store or a restaurant – According to the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, one million restaurant customers and three million food service workers suffer a slip and fall in a restaurant each year in the U.S.
- When you are in a parking lot – Black ice or insufficient lighting contribute to the risk of a fall in a parking lot.
- On the stairs – Broken railings or unsafe stair treads contribute to the risk of fall injuries on the stairs. A 2012 study published in the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that more than 93,000 emergency room visits per year are caused by injuries related to stairs.
- On sidewalks – Sidewalks can become damaged over time, leading to uneven pavement or other fall risks.
- When you are on an escalator or elevator – A 2009 CBS News Report indicated that an estimated 10,000 people per year suffer an injury on an escalator. While elevator injuries are less common, WebMD indicates that kids and teens experience around 1,940 elevator injuries annually.
- In public parks or recreation facilities – Public parks, sports stadiums, amusement parks, movie theatres and almost any other recreational facility can present risks of slips and falls due to slippery floors, crowded aisles, unsafe bleachers, debris or other issues.
- At nursing homes – The NFSI indicates that a high percentage of nursing home residents fall each year.
Common Causes of Atlanta Slip and Fall Accidents
Common risk factors for slips and falls in Atlanta homes and businesses include:
- Spills or wet products (water, grease, oil, mud, food or blood)
- Dry products that cause slippery floors (dust, powders, wood and granules)
- Polished or freshly waxed floors (concrete, marble and ceramic tile)
- Transitions from one surface to another surface (vinyl flooring to carpet)
- Sloped or uneven walking surfaces
- Rugs or mats that are loose or unanchored or have curled edges
- Floorboards that have become loose or floor tiles that are uneven or shifting
- Ramps without slip-resistant surfaces
- Slippery metal surfaces such as dock boards
- Loose surfaces or irregular surfaces (gravel or mulch)
- Muddy terrain
- Weather hazards (snow, ice and rain)
- Plant debris such as leaves or pine needles
- Uncovered wires, hoses, cables or extension cords
- Clutter or obstacles in walkways
- Open desk drawers, doors or cabinets
- Changes in elevation levels (especially when not properly marked)
- Steps with irregular treads or that are damaged
- Damaged railings
- Poor lighting (creating glares or shadows)
- Excess noise or temperature
- Missing or inadequate signage warning people of slip and fall risks.
Each of these different risk factors increases the risk of slipping and falling. These types of accidents can happen almost anywhere, and the consequences of the fall can vary, depending upon your age, how you land and where the fall occurs.
Slip and Fall Accidents at Work
Although slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere, many occur in work environments. In fact, falls are a top cause of workplace accidents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 666 workers died in 2011 due to falling on the jobsite. These deaths represent 14 percent of all workplace deaths, and 108 of them occurred due to slips, trips or other falls on the same elevation.
The high number of workplace falls occurs due to the inherent dangers in many workplaces, especially in the mining and construction industries. However, employers may also contribute to the fall risk by not taking proper safety precautions. In 2011, for example, OSHA indicated that the most frequent cause of workplace citations was a violation of fall-protection rules. OSHA guidelines are established in order to keep workers safe. When employers fail to abide by the regulations, serious consequences can result.
Obtaining Compensation for Atlanta Slip and Fall Accidents
When you’ve experienced a slip and fall, whether at work or elsewhere, you may be entitled to compensation. A workplace slip and fall can result in a workers’ compensation claim, which does not require you to prove any type of negligence on the part of your employer. It is enough that the slip and fall happened at work.
For most slip-and-fall cases, however, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries. To be successful at making a personal injury claim, you will need to prove:
- The property owner or person occupying the property owed you a duty of care. The duty owed varies, depending upon why you were on the property. If you were a customer, the store owner needs to regularly inspect the premises and make sure it is safe or warn you of dangers. If you were an invited guest to someone’s home, the homeowner needs to correct or warn you of any dangers in the home that they know of or should have known about.
- The property owner had notice of the dangerous situation and time to correct it, but the owner failed to correct or warn you about it.
- The injury happened due to the property owner’s failure to keep the premises safe.
- The dangerous situation wasn’t “open and obvious,” which means you didn’t walk into the dangerous situation on purpose.
At The Millar Law Firm we are prepared to help you prove all elements of your case. We’ll work with you to find expert witnesses and get the evidence you need. We are also ready on your behalf to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If your case does go to trial, our experienced litigators have the knowledge, skill and ability to be strong advocates for you.
Contact an Atlanta Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Today
The Millar Law Firm offers free case evaluations and takes slip-and-fall cases on a contingent fee basis. In other words, if you don’t get compensation, you will not be charged legal fees. To schedule your free consultation and learn how we can help you, use our online contact form or call us today at 404-620-4301 or use our online form.