I Slipped and Fell In The Store Because of a Wet Floor, and There Was No Proper Warning. Who Is Liable For My Injury From The Fall?
Of the different types of accidents and injuries that can happen, slips, trips, and falls are among the most frequent. Suffering a slip and fall accident in a public place is often somewhat embarrassing and may be something you are tempted to dismiss it as being a matter of mere clumsiness. Unfortunately, the fact is that these so-called ‘accidents’ are often the result of negligence on the part of the property owner, manager, or staff, and the injuries you suffer could be serious, possibly debilitating, and in some cases, even life threatening.
At Steinberg Law Firm, our Charleston personal injury attorneys understand the serious costs that even a minor fall can have on your health and well-being. As the result of your injuries, you may need ongoing medical care and physical rehabilitation, while being unable to work or participate in activities you previously enjoyed with friends and family. In these types of situations, it is generally the property owner who is responsible for the damages you suffer.
COMMON TYPES OF SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that accidents involving slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of serious injuries in the United States, resulting in more than eight million hospital emergency room visits each year. These types of incidents can happen at work, school, or in grocery stores, retail establishments, and other public locations, and while most likely related as being accidental, they are often the liability of property owners and managers. Ensuring periodic maintenance is regulated and that warnings are posted concerning potential hazards and dangerous conditions is a key part of keeping customers, guests, and even other employees safe and free from injury. According to the NSC, the types of conditions which commonly result in slip and fall accidents and injuries include the following:
- Wet, slippery floors due to recent mopping, spills, or weather conditions;
- Cluttered and obstructed aisles and hallways;
- Places with heavy pedestrian traffic, such as at sporting events or during store sales;
- Doorways, entrances, and exits, where there may be gaps in carpeting, or wet flooring due to condensation;
- Uneven walkways, and places where there are gaps in the sidewalk;
- On stairwells, where there may be a lack of handrails or proper lighting
- Establishment owners and employees who fail to fix or warn customers about the above types of dangerous conditions can face legal liability when accidents and injuries occur.
TYPES OF SLIP AND FALL INJURIES YOU MAY HAVE SUFFERED
According to research from the National Flooring Council (NFC), slip and fall accidents are taken very seriously. Injuries sustained in these types of incidents end up resulting in more than $13 million in medical costs each year, including the setbacks associated with lost income.
If you have been a victim on this type of accident, it is important to get medical care right away, regardless of how minor you think your injuries may be. Many types of potentially disabling and even life threatening injuries have symptoms that take days or even weeks to show up, and failing to get proper medical attention could put your ability to get the compensation you deserve in jeopardy. In order to protect yourself and your future wellbeing, the NFC warns that it is important to be aware of the common types of injuries that can occur as the result of a slip, trip, or fall, which include the following:
- Muscle and tendon strains, sprains, and tears;
- Broken bones and fractures, particularly in the hips, pelvis, ankles, and wrists;
- Back injuries, such as slipped or herniated disks;
- Head injuries, such as concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
HOLDING PROPERTY OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR SLIP AND FALL INJURIES
Any time you suffer a slip, trip, or fall in a public place, you should be sure and report to security or the establishment manager right away. Make a note of the conditions around you which may have led to your accident, such as wet or uneven floors, and insist that an injury report be filed. Under Section 27-3-60 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, property owners can be held legally accountable for their negligent or willful actions in failing to warn or protect guests from dangerous conditions that exist on or in their establishments. Under SC law, if the property owner was aware or even should have been aware of conditions such as poorly lit walkways or worn flooring materials, or even the likelihood for potential dangers such as slippery floors and messy aisles, they could be held liable for the following types of compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit:
- Medical expenses, including any current and future costs you may incur due to the need for ongoing care and treatment;
- Lost wages and future losses of earnings based on your inability to perform certain tasks on your job;
- Rehabilitative costs, in terms of both physical and occupational therapy;
- Compensation for the pain and suffering caused by your injuries.
- Depending on the situations under which you were injured, you may also be entitled to punitive damages, which is a dollar amount set by the court to punish particularly negligent conduct.
At Steinberg Law Firm, we have decades of experience handling all types of premises liability cases. If you are unsure whether you have a case, we will go over it with you during a free consultation. You can contact our Charleston, Goose Creek, or Summerville offices by dialing 843-720-2800, or by filling out the "Free Case Review" form located above.