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SlipFallMany debilitating injuries arise from people slipping or tripping on wet, slippery or greasy surfaces, as well as unexpected holes in sidewalks that result from missing manhole or utility covers, and other hidden hazards on areas that residential and business property owners as well as local, city, state and even federal government entities should be properly maintaining. slip and fall lawyers specializing in fall down injuries and slip and fall accidents are ready and available to assist you with your Personal injury claim. “Slip and fall injury” or “trip and fall injury” is the generic term for an injury that occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. Sometimes, these injuries may also be referred to as “slip, trip and fall” injuries. Slip and fall injuries can result from such problems as water, rain, ice, snow, grease or other slippery substance on the walking surface, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground. Slip and fall / trip and fall / slip, trip and fall accidents considered “fall down accidents,” and any injury arising from such an accident is considered a personal injury. There are four generalized categories under which fall down accidents are grouped:

  • Trip-and-fall accidents, where there is a foreign object in the walking path – like a stack of books in a walkway that is normally clear;
  • Stump-and-fall accidents, where there is an impediment in the walking surface – like a power cord that runs between two cubicles that wasn’t there previously;
  • Step-and-fall accidents, where there is an unexpected failure or hole in the walking surface, such as a missing manhole cover or utility cover in the sidewalk; and
  • Slip-and-fall accidents, in which the interface of the shoe and the floor fails – you slip and fall on someone’s wet or greasy floor and there are no warning signs posted anywhere.

If you are on someone else’s property and you injure yourself as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, the land owner or business proprietor may be liable for your injuries. If you are a property owner and someone injures himself or herself on your land, you may find yourself legally responsible for any injuries sustained by the person’s fall. The U.S. Department of Labor has compiled these tips for helping property owners avoid the liability of fall down accidents. While many pertain to businesses and places of employment, some are also applicable for residential property owners, as well.

  • Keep floors clean and dry. In addition to being a slip hazard, continually wet surfaces promote the growth of mold, fungi, and bacteria, that can cause infections.
  • Provide warning signs for wet floor areas.
  • Where wet processes are used, maintain drainage and provide false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry standing places where practicable, or provide appropriate waterproof footgear.
  • Walking/Working Surfaces Standard requires all businesses to Keep all places of employment clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.
  • Keep aisles and passageways clear and in good repair, with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard. Provide floor plugs for equipment, so power cords need not run across pathways.
  • Keep exits free from obstruction. Access to exits must remain clear of obstructions at all times.

The U.S. Department of Labor has also compiled a list of other recommended good work practices that are mainly applicable to businesses and places of employment, but are also useful for homeowners and people doing remodeling work on their homes:

  • Ensure spills are reported and cleaned up immediately. At home, if you spill something, clean it up right away, so your family members and visitors don’t slip and fall.
  • Use no-skid waxes and surfaces coated with grit to create non-slip surfaces in slippery areas such as toilet and shower areas.
  • Use waterproof footgear on the job and at home to decrease slip/fall hazards.
  • Use only properly maintained ladders to reach items, whether you are at work or at home. Do not use stools, chairs, or boxes as substitutes for ladders.
  • Re-lay or stretch carpets that bulge or have become bunched to prevent tripping hazards.
  • Aisles and passageways should be sufficiently wide for easy movement and should be kept clear at all times. Temporary electrical cords that cross aisles should be taped or otherwise anchored to the floor.
  • Clean up cluttered or obstructed work areas or play areas. A lot of injuries in a private home have been the result of toys scattered in a play area that someone slips or trips over.
  • Nurses station countertops or medication carts should be free of sharp, square corners. This is also true of homes–eliminate furniture that have sharp, square corners.
  • Use prudent housekeeping procedures such as cleaning only one side of a passageway at a time, and provide good lighting for all garages, halls, basements and stairwells, to help reduce accidents.
  • Provide adequate lighting especially during night hours. You can use flashlights or low-level lighting when entering patient rooms or other areas where turning on the light may disturb whoever else is in the room.
  • Instruct workers and other visitors to your property to use the handrail on stairs, to avoid undue speed, and to maintain an unobstructed view of the stairs ahead of them even if that means requesting help to manage a bulky load. Clearly posted signs may help reduce your liability as a property owner.
  • Eliminate uneven floor surfaces that could cause someone to trip and get injured.
  • Promote safe work habits in cramped spaces, whether on the job or at home. Avoid awkward positions, and use equipment that makes lifting less awkward.

An accident report should be completed at the time of the incident noting what happened, who witnessed both the accident and the conditions that caused the fall along with any other relevant information such as lighting, weather (if accident occurred outdoors) or hidden hazards. The requirement for a report is generally a store or business policy, rather than mandated by law. However, the timely reporting of the accident is most beneficial for all involved parties. If a report is not completed at the business location, occurred on a public street or sidewalk, occurred at private location or was not observed by others, take the time to write down your recollection of what happened as soon as you possibly can. Information you gather immediately or soon after the accident occurs is much more accurate than any gathered any time later on. Besides, timely recording of your recollection will help make your claim stronger. Include information such as:

  • Date and time the fall down accident occurred;
  • A description of the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as grease or water being on the floor and there not being any signs warning you that the floor may be slippery;
  • Who was present at the time the fall down accident occurred and a written record of the comments made by those who saw or helped after the fall;
  • If possible, take photos of the area as soon after the accident occurred as possible; and
  • If you were physically hurt, have your injury treated immediately to help substantiate your slip and fall / trip and fall injury claim. If treatment is delayed, the property owner may argue that it was not his or her negligence that caused your injury, but rather something that occurred between the time of the fall down accident and your visit to the doctor.

Both the property owner and the injured person may be held to varying degrees of responsibility for an injury. The property owner has a responsibility to keep property safe. Each person has a duty to watch where they are going, as well as realize that there are things that fall or spill onto walking surfaces. However, there is no way a person can anticipate all hazards. Besides, there are many cases where the residential or commercial property owner, or local, city, state or federal government entity is 100% at fault. For example, how many times have you seen missing manhole or utility covers from streets and sidewalks? Those types of hazards are extremely difficult to anticipate and they typically result in debilitating injuries. If you are injured in a fall down accident, contact us right away to learn your legal rights and options. Time limitations may apply, so contact a slip and fall lawyer as quickly as possible. Also, if the at-fault party is a local, city, state or federal government entity, different laws may apply which may affect your rights as an injured person. If we feel you have a case, and we can help you recover the monetary damages to which you may be entitled… don’t delay, delays could affect your potential eligibility for a claim. Contact us now! Riordan Law Group, charges clients of personal injury claims on a contingency basis. What that means is the attorney is only paid if he or she wins money damages for you – the client. This makes it possible for anyone to hire only the best lawyer. It gives everyone access to the justice system and representation that is equal to the best that insurance company’s, doctors and other defendants can hire. Contact us today to discuss your legal options with our lawyers. 1-800-825-0157 or outside Massachusetts, 508-588-5562, email: Riordanlawgroup@verizon.net