‘Tis the season for shopping and visiting. It’s a time when ladders are used to hang decorations high and people are more willing to wait in line for the item at the top of their loved one’s Christmas wish list. Unfortunately, with all the hustle and bustle, it’s a season for slip and fall and trip and fall accidents, which are the most common type of premises liability claim in the U.S. Read on for more information about this type of accident and what you can do to prevent a slip and fall or trip and fall injury from ruining your holiday plans.
What is a Slip/Trip and Fall Accident?
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for more than 8 million emergency department visits every year in the U.S., and around one million of those visits are required for injuries incurred in a slip and fall accident. This type of accident is particularly dangerous for those who are over the age of 65, as strength and balance both begin to decline with age. Falls are the second-leading cause of death by injury for this age group, who also faces the highest risk of suffering a hip fracture, which is among the most dangerous injuries to experience in this type of accident.
Premises liability is a category of personal injury law that pertains to the responsibility that private and commercial property owners have to keep their property free of dangerous features that could cause injury to guests. Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are a type of premises liability claim in which an injured individual seeks to prove that the property owner was responsible for injuries that resulted from the individual slipping or tripping over a hazardous property feature and falling.
How Can Slip and Fall Accidents Be Avoided
With some effort by commercial and private property owners and awareness by shoppers and visitors, most slip and fall accidents can be avoided. Here are some tips for keeping your customers or yourself safe during the holiday festivities.
For Property Owners
Property owners, including those who plan to invite guests to their home for the holidays or to attract customers to their business, can help keep their visitors safe through the following steps:
- Clean up all spills immediately and keep hallways, stairways, and aisles free from obstacles or debris that could cause a guest to slip and fall or trip and fall.
- Make sure that areas of your property where guests are permitted to be are well lit and that the flooring is free from wearing or tears that could pose slipping or tripping risks to guests.
- If you are decorating high places or have hired someone to do that for you, make sure that there is an additional person to hold the ladder steady.
- Holiday lights require extension cords. Make sure those cords are tucked away, out of the main path where a guest could trip over them.
- If the weather is inclement, it is likely that your guests will track mud and water into your property, which can cause a slipping hazard for others. Be sure to watch for accumulations of water in heavily traveled areas, particularly by doorways.
- Regularly inspect the walkway, driveway, or parking lot of your property to ensure that there are no hazards such as potholes or cracked pavement that can cause someone to trip or slip and become injured.
For Shoppers and Visitors
- Avoid looking at your phone or visiting while entering or exiting a store to ensure that your focus is on avoiding hazards and keeping yourself safe.
- When the weather is wet, a little courtesy goes a long way. Wiping your feet before entering a business helps to protect the business’ other customers from injury.
- Remember that holiday lighting displays feature cords. Use caution when walking around these displays so that you do not trip on the cord.
- Wear properly fitted shoes when shopping or visiting. Not only will this be more comfortable for your feet, but it will also help protect you from injuries caused by slipping or tripping.
- If you notice a hazard such as liquid or debris in the walkway of a place of business, be sure to let management know before leaving the store.
How We Can Help If You Have Been Injured in a Slip/Trip and Fall Accident
If you have been injured in Atlanta due to a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, Georgia law allows you to pursue compensation for the financial and economic impacts of your losses through a personal injury lawsuit. This is a legal claim filed in civil court within two years of the date of the accident that caused your injury and seeks to prove that someone else is legally responsible for the expenses of your injury and to show what those expenses and impacts are.
In order to prove that someone else was liable for your slip and fall or trip and fall injury, you must show:
- The property owner had a duty to keep the premises safe.
- There was a hazardous condition that the property owner knew about and failed to remedy or warn guests about.
- This breach in the duty of care resulted in an injury to the property owner’s guest.
- This injury resulted in economic losses and psychological impacts for the injured guest.
Damage is a term that refers to a payment that is made for harm. Georgia allows the collection of both economic damages, which are payment for the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of your injury, as well as non-economic damages, which are payment for the impacts your injury has had on your life. Some of the economic and emotional impacts of a slip and fall accident that people commonly receive damages for include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
An experienced Atlanta slip and fall attorney from Cambre & Associates can help you to understand the legal process of filing a personal injury lawsuit and can provide important services focuses on improving the likelihood of a successful outcome to your case. Contact us for your free case review.