Slip and fall accidents in grocery stores, restaurants, bars, malls and on other commercial, public and residential premises are among the most misunderstood types of personal injury claims. Media sources and the insurance industry often minimize the seriousness of a slip and fall accident as more damaging to the ego than the human body. Many such depictions even suggest that fall victims' injury claims are exaggerated or fabricated. The reality is that slip and fall accidents can cause devastating life-altering injuries. With the average age of the U.S. population growing, the high risk of permanent injury to seniors from falls caused by the failure of property owners to clean up or warrn of slippery floors poses a significant cause for concern as trip and fall hazards.
A cursory review of the data from the National Safety Council on slip and fall accidents nationally reveals that falls involving seniors are both common and serious. One in three people age 65 or older suffers a fall each year across the country. These falls cause the death of over 18,000 elderly victims annually, which is four times greater than any other age group. In addition to the high number of fatalities in slip/trip and fall accidents involving seniors, there are many more seniors who suffer debilitating injuries like hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that cause permanent impaired physical and mental functioning, as well as a premature loss of independence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries nationally involving those 65 and above.
Slip and fall accidents involving the elderly often occur because property owners fail to maintain their property, clean up spills or repair uneven sidewalks and driveways. Generally, commercial, public and even residential property owners (depending on the circumstances) have a duty to either clear hazards that may cause a fall or provide adequate warnings. Property management companies, landlords, tenants and others may also be liable for negligence in keeping the premises safe or warning visitors about the potential hazard.
However, slip and fall cases are fact intensive. Therefore, our Miami personal injury lawyers carefully investigates slip and fall accidents so that we can identify key facts which may include:
• Length of time hazard was present
• Nature of the hazard
• Efforts to clean up the substance
• Employee knowledge of the presence of the unsafe condition
• Prior accidents on the property related to a similar hazard
• Building and safety code violations
• Adequacy of lighting
• Accident report
• Statements of witnesses
• Nature of the property commercial, residential or public
• Video surveillance footage
• Prior reports by patrons regarding the hazard