When a Fall Leads to Injuries, Who is Liable?
Anyone can fall, and much of the time there’s no consequence beyond a bit of bruised dignity. However, all too often a slip or fall can result in fairly serious injuries, with the associated mind-blowing medical costs. So if that fall occurs in a public location, who is liable for the bills? For answers to this and other questions related to personal injuries, a local attorney should be consulted.
Why so many Falls?
Are we just a clumsy society? Maybe. But the fact is that there are many other elements that contribute to falls. Some common issues include:
- Cluttered pathways;
- Loose carpeting or sliding area rugs;
- Poor lighting;
- Tiles that are lifting, or uneven brick or cement flooring;
- Railings that are not tightly secured along stairwells or pathways;
- Spills that create slippery surfaces;
- Tile or other surfaces that are not treated.
Are Falls Really a Big Deal?
It might surprise some people to hear that emergency rooms treat over nine million victims of slip and fall accidents every single year. So yes, slip and fall accidents are a serious problem. The facts paint a pretty clear picture of just how enormous the problem is:
- 40 percent of nursing home admissions are directly related to a fall;
- Over 80 percent of worker’s compensation claims are due to falls;
- The majority of falls—70 percent, in fact—occur on flat surfaces;
- The average price of medical bills following a treated fall is over $20,000; and
- Individuals over the age of 65 experience about 33 percent of all treated falls.
Was Negligence a Factor in the Accident?
Property owners have a responsibility to keep grounds safe for anyone who enters the premises. Whether a member of the public, an employee, or a mailman stepping into someone’s yard, you have the right to expect reasonable care to have been taken to keep the area safe. If a property owner ignored a potential hazard, they may be liable for injuries under Florida law. Liability can be determined by looking at a couple of factors:
Whether the issues connected to the fall had been left unresolved for an unreasonable period of time: If a spilled drink in a restaurant was not mopped up for an hour and someone then slipped and incurred an injury, negligence might logically be a factor. Likewise, if a loose hand railing resulted in the patron of the opera falling, and that railing had been a problem for weeks, one might wonder why the proprietor did nothing to rectify the situation.
If falls occurred on a regular basis in the same location or under the same circumstances: If the entrance to a school is the site of multiple falls on rainy days, one might wonder why nothing has been done to alleviate the risk. Even though rain cannot be controlled, the issue of the repeated falls should have been addressed.
Following a Fall
If you’ve suffered serious injuries due to a fall, schedule a free, confidential consultation at Salazar & Kelly, Law Group, P.A. in Kissimmee to discuss liability issues. We are eager to assist you today.