What Are the Common Causes of a Slip and Fall Accident?

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An elderly woman has a slip and fall accident in her bathroom.

According to the CDC, more than 1 million people annually visit the emergency room because of a slip and fall accident. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to slip or trip on something and take a bad fall. In many cases, we find a hazardous condition that wasn’t easily noticeable to the person who fell.

Some common causes of slip and fall accidents include:

  • Wet floors. Spilled drinks, leaking roofs, water splashed on the floor from a fountain or pool, or simply mopping can all be hazards to an unsuspecting pedestrian. Any business or venue open to the public should train employees that puddles or slick spots should be cleaned and wet floor signs put out immediately to warn people.
  • Loose floorboards or tiles. It might be hard to spot these, even if you happen to be looking directly at the floor. Some people never even see what they tripped on.
  • Loose or scrunched-up carpeting. Edges of carpet or bumps in the carpet can be a tripping hazard.
  • Potholes or cracks in the floor. Sometimes, a crack starts out small and looks harmless, but it grows bigger and soon causes a problem.
  • Uneven floors, paths, or sidewalks. If the ground is uneven, it can sometimes appear deceptively even to unsuspecting visitors.
  • Exposed wires or any debris in an area where people normally walk. For example, leaving gardening tools in a yard or footpath can be hazardous. Hoses stretched across a lawn may also be an issue, and anything a person could trip over should be relocated.

I Slipped and Fell on the Floor, What Should I Do Next?

If you are in a public place like a store, let management know what happened. Most stores or venues open to the public require the manager on duty to fill out an incident report if a customer is hurt. Generally, they ask for your name, contact info, and a brief statement describing what happened.

You should be honest about what occurred, avoid discussing fault, and not say that you think it was your fault. North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws prevent you from recovering compensation if you are even partially at fault, and we’ve met many clients who were mistaken about this. It’s very common for people to say, “I guess I just tripped over my own feet.”

That does happen occasionally, but in many cases, we learn that the injured person tripped over something they couldn’t see, like a slightly loose tile.

If other people around saw your fall, try to get their names and contact info. Many clients tell us about the kindness of strangers who helped them after their accident.

These people may have observed things about the scene that you couldn’t see from your perspective – such as what you tripped on. Take pictures of where you fell, which might help us determine what could have caused the problem.

Always get medical attention, even if you think you’re all right. With some injuries, you may not have as much pain right away as you do the next morning or even a few days later.

The adrenaline rush associated with an accident can temporarily distract you from pain, or the injury may worsen when the area becomes swollen later. Seeing a healthcare provider will ensure you get the treatment you need and create a record that can be consulted if you have more pain or symptoms later.

What if You’re Hurt in a Private Residence?

Let the owner know what happened. They probably won’t ask you for help with an incident report, but you should follow the other instructions above – ask for names and contact info of witnesses, seek medical care for your injuries, and take pictures of the scene if you can.

You should also ask the host for their renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy number. There’s no need to argue if they are angry or refuse to give it to you.

Go see a doctor, get your injuries checked out, and call a lawyer immediately afterward. As long as you know the owner’s name or at least the property’s address, we can track down the owner and follow up about their insurance coverage.

What Are Some Common Slips and Fall Injuries?

There are many ways to get hurt when you fall and hit the floor or other nearby objects. Here are some common injuries we see in slip and fall cases:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other head injuries. Unfortunately, a fall can result in hitting your head, especially in a crowded area like a store with many displays, shelves, bins, and other objects you could hit your head on. Some people recover completely from head injuries, while others suffer permanent health effects, including cognitive or speech impairments, seizures or epilepsy, difficulty with walking or motor control, or other neurological difficulties.
  • Spinal cord or back injuries. If you fall in such a way that you break your back, permanent spinal cord damage is possible. In many cases, this results in paralysis. Other back injuries may not sever the spinal cord but could still cause chronic back pain that could be debilitating.
  • Broken bones. Often people land wrong with they fall, fracturing a hand, wrist, arm, leg, or foot. Hip fractures are also common, especially in older adults. The CDC reports that more than 95 percent of hip fractures are due to falls, usually ones where the person lands sideways.
  • Sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries. These are sometimes difficult to diagnose, but they can still cause you pain and difficulty.
  • Joint dislocations. These can be painful; even after the dislocation is corrected, some patients have lingering pain or stiffness.

How Do I Get Help With These Medical Bills After My Slip and Fall Injury?

Even with health insurance, injury treatment can be expensive.

There might be copays, treatments your insurance company randomly decides not to cover, prescription costs, physical therapy that may not be covered, mobility devices or accessibility accommodations, and more. Worse, if your injuries prevent you from returning to work for days, weeks, or even months, you might not have the money to cover these costs.

If you were injured on property that belongs to someone else – either a business or an individual – you may be able to seek compensation from an insurance carrier.

Homeowner’s and business liability insurance often covers medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages from slip and fall accidents. However, you may need to prove that you were not at fault in the accident, so it’s essential that you contact a North Carolina slip and fall lawyer right away.

Get a Free Consultation About Your Slip and Fall Case From Tatum & Atkinson

Our team of Heavy Hitters will discuss your case with you and explain any potential routes for seeking compensation. We never charge a fee until we win or settle your case, so you have nothing to lose by discovering your options. Please call 800-LAW-0804 today to learn more.