Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of premises liability accidents, which really comes as no surprise. In any location where common-sense safety precautions are not taken, the result is often the addition of hazards that can cause someone to slip or trip.
Some of the most common hazards that cause slip and fall accidents are:
- Lifted carpeting: Something as innocuous as a piece of lifted carpeting or a damaged rug can be the cause of a slip and fall accident that leaves someone permanently injured.
- Slick floors: Puddles on tile floors like from the rain or a spilled beverage need to be cleaned up as soon as possible.
- Unkempt cables: In the average office environment, computers, printers, and telephones are hooked up at every desk with power cables and network cables. When these cables cross walkways, busy office workers can trip over them.
- Missing handrails: Most steps or stairs need to have a handrail installed along the wall to let people better maintain their balance while ascending or descending. A missing handrail can be a quick way to a slip and fall accident.
- Uneven concrete: Cracked, damaged, or uneven concrete and asphalt that causes a trip and fall accident can be the responsibility of the local municipality or city.
- Inadequate lighting: Walkways with poor lighting are dangerous in any situation. Proprietors need to frequently walk their properties to check for defective lights that require replacement.
Injuries Suffered by Slip and Fall Victims
Many people erroneously assume that a slip and fall accident is not a big deal. The truth is that slip and fall accidents often result in severe injuries that can cause lifetime complications. Slipping or tripping and falling down is even a leading cause of premature death in elders, especially among elderly populations in nursing homes.
Severe injuries suffered in slip and fall accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Hip fractures
- Broken wrists and ankles
Who is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
If someone suffers a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, then the proprietor could be the one who is liable for their resulting damages. It depends on the type of hazard, how obvious it should have been to the proprietor, and what the victim was doing at the time of the accident.
In most situations, the hazard needs to have been “open and obvious” for the injured party to have a valid slip and fall accident claim. An “open” hazard is one that is in an area that the claimant was allowed to enter, such as the aisles of a grocery store to a shopper but not the backroom that is marked for employee entrance only. An “obvious” hazard is one that should have been readily noticeable by the property owner or a staff member if a reasonable amount of safety precautions were taken.
The duration of a hazard is also important. If the hazard has been unattended for quite some time, then the proprietor’s liability will likely increase. But if the hazard is relatively new, and it would have been difficult for the property owner or manager to notice it before an accident occurred, then the proprietor’s liability will be reduced or cloudy at the least. For example, a shopper who slips on a spilled beverage that was dropped by another customer only a minute before would have a difficult time getting full compensation from the grocer.
Bringing a Claim Against Negligent Proprietors
One challenge of slip and fall accident cases is that defending proprietors are often backed by major insurance companies. Property owners are often required to buy strong liability insurance policies in case of an accident on their grounds. Claimants and plaintiffs can be surprised to find that pursuing compensation is not as simple as sitting down with the property owner and hashing out a fair settlement.
If you live in Reno, Nevada and need help figuring out a slip and fall accident claim, then you can count on Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. Our team of premises liability attorneys knows how to create an effective claim after a slip and fall accident, whether it was suffered on commercial, residential, or government property. To find out more about our services and your options, please schedule a consultation using an online contact form at any time.