Property owners and businesses have a responsibility to make sure their premises are safe for visitors. That means keeping their property free of hazards that could cause someone to slip or trip. These accidents often result in a fall to the floor or pavement, creating painful and serious injuries that can have a significant impact on people's lives.
Slip and fall accidents happen swiftly and suddenly when a person encounters a hazard that should not have been there. These hazards can include:
- Substances on the floor - Spilled liquids or discarded items such as bags or wrappers can be slippery and cause people to lose their footing.
- Inadequate warnings - A floor may be wet after mopping or a water spill, but warnings should be posted to alert customers. People often get hurt after slipping on wet tile due to lack of warning, such as “caution wet floor” signs, or because those signs are not placed in highly visible locations.
- Tripping hazards - There may be loose floorboards, damaged carpeting or uneven surfaces in pavement.
- Lack of handrails - Walkways that have stairs, steps and ramps should be properly maintained and are required to have handrails to help people maintain their balance.
- Inadequate lighting - Building codes may call for lighting standards to help people make their way safely.
Common injuries from slip and falls
While tripping, slipping, stumbling or falling may sound like an insignificant accident, doing so can leave you with a severe and painful injury. Some of the most common types of injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents include:
Head or Brain Injury
Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of brain injury in the US. After slipping and falling, your head can strike the floor with great force. Upon impact, your brain can crash against the inside of your skull, which can result in a concussion or another type of traumatic brain injury. Brain damage can cause problems with speech and thinking. You may also experience difficulty with motor skills and mobility. Costly long-term care, physical therapy, or rehabilitation is often needed for serious brain injuries.
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Spinal Cord Injury
The spine has 24 bones called “vertebrae” that run from the base of the skull through the neck and down to the tailbone, protecting the spinal cord. In a slip and fall, you can fall with great force onto your upper or lower back, fracturing vertebrae and possibly damaging the spinal cord itself. This can lead to temporary mobility problems or even partial or complete paralysis. The cost of care can be significant, and the physical and emotional trauma associated with these types of injuries can last a lifetime.
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When you fall, the force of impact can easily cause bones to fracture. Depending on how you fall, bones can be fractured in your neck, back, shoulder, hip, forearm, arm, hand, wrist, leg, foot or ankle. Any type of fracture can impair a person’s ability to work and take part in usual activities. Even a hairline foot fracture can be painful and restrict mobility, meaning you may need crutches to get around. A more serious injury such as a compound fracture or a broken fibula may require surgery, follow-up x-rays, and a lengthy recovery period. Though they are much less severe than a broken bone, a bone contusion – or bone bruise – is another type of injury that’s common in slip and fall accidents.
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When falling to the floor with great force, it is easy to suffer an injury to the back. The fall could lead to a fractured, slipped or herniated disc in the spinal column, or a sprained muscle, tendon or ligament. Symptoms often include back pain and limited mobility. A back injury could lead to missed time at work and an inability to take part in enjoyable activities. Treatment may involve surgery, physical therapy, and pain medication.
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Hip injuries in slip and fall accidents can be very painful and debilitating. Muscles, tendons and ligaments around the hip can be strained, sprained or torn. The hip joint could be dislocated. The femur could be fractured or the hip pointer on the pelvis bruised. Any hip injury can result in pain and severely limited mobility. Hip injuries often require surgery, physical therapy and a lengthy recovery period.
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Knee injuries frequently occur in slip and fall accidents. Some of the most common ways to hurt your knee in a fall include fracturing the bones that form the knee joint; spraining or tearing a knee tendon or knee ligament (torn ACL, MCL, patellar tendon); and suffering a dislocated or fractured kneecap. All these injuries often result in extreme pain and limited mobility. To diagnose your knee injury, you may need to undergo an MRI, CT scan, and other diagnostic tests. Treatment may involve surgery, physical therapy, pain medicine, and rest.
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People who fall on their shoulder or hold out their arm to break their fall can suffer different types of shoulder injuries, such as muscle strains, broken scapula, dislocated shoulder, torn rotator cuff, and nerve damage. These injuries can be very painful and result in lifelong problems. Mobility and motion can be extremely difficult, and it may take a long time to recover. Shoulder injuries can also leave you unable to work.
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What should you do after a slip and fall?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip, trip, or fall accident, what you do immediately after can be critical to protecting your health and legal rights. After getting hurt in a fall, here’s what you need to do:
- Seek immediate medical attention. If you are seriously injured, have someone call an ambulance so you can get transported to a hospital. Otherwise, see a doctor as soon as possible to document any injuries. Medical records are crucial pieces of evidence in slip and fall cases and seeking prompt medical treatment can help prove you sustained a legitimate injury.
- Report your injury. Whether you were hurt in a fall at a casino or a local retail store, report your accident right away to the property owner, supervisor, manager, or landlord so that an incident report can be written. Stick to the facts of what happened and be careful not to say anything that could be misunderstood as an admission of fault. Make sure you receive a copy of the report, as this will serve as another important piece of evidence.
- Take pictures and talk to witnesses. If anyone saw your accident happen, be sure to get their name and contact information. Eyewitness testimony can be extremely helpful when proving negligence in a slip and fall case. You’ll also want to take pictures from different angles that clearly show where your accident occurred, hazards that may have contributed to your fall, and any visible injuries.
- Keep quiet about your accident. Whether it’s the property owner, a landlord, or the insurance company, do not talk to anyone after the accident without first speaking to a lawyer. You can be sure that the at-fault party has done the same. Anything you say or post online regarding your injury or accident could be used against you to limit your compensation or deny your claim.
- Contact an attorney. Slip and fall cases fall under the legal category of premises liability, an area of the law that can be exceptionally complicated. A lawyer will be able to review the details of your case, explain your legal options, and give you the information you need so that you can decide on the best way to proceed.
Can you sue if you fall on private property?
If you were injured in a trip and fall accident on private property, you may have legal recourse to recover compensation for your damages. Your legal rights after a slip and fall will vary depending on your legal status at the time of your injury. For instance, if you were on private property as an invitee – e.g., at a store during business hours – then the property owner or business owed you a high duty of care to keep you safe from hazards on their premises.
You may also be able to pursue a claim if you were injured on private property as a licensee, meaning you had permission to be on the property at the time of your accident even though that property isn’t always open to the public. Adult trespassers, meaning those who are illegally on the property, have very few legal rights, though there are some exceptions.
Can you sue if you fall on public property?
Whether you were hurt in a trip and fall at a municipal park or on some other piece of government property, you may be able to pursue compensation. Common examples of public places where trip and fall accidents occur include:
- Public sidewalks and walkways
- Public schools
- Public libraries
- Public pools
- City or county parks and playgrounds
- City or county bike lanes
Under Nevada state law, if you were injured on public property you must file a claim with the state or local government agency that owns the property. If you’re unsure who owns or manages the property, seek help from an attorney.
Can you sue if you fall at a hotel or casino?
Hotels and casinos are considered private property, and just like other businesses open to the public, they are responsible for keeping their premises safe from hazards. Bear in mind that your rights are different depending on your legal status at the time of your accident.
What's the average payout for a slip and fall?
There are many different factors to consider when calculating the value of a slip and fall claim. As such, a dollar value can’t be accurately placed on your case without knowing all the facts first. Generally speaking, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. You may also be able to obtain compensation for pain and suffering. Note that under Nevada’s modified comparative negligence law, you may not recover damages if you are found to be more than 50 percent responsible for your accident.
Taking the fight to insurance companies
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you can expect a wall of bureaucracy when you file a claim for benefits. Property owners don't want to admit fault and insurance companies don't want to pay. Their lawyers fight to protect their clients and prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve.
Attorney Al Lasso fights for you. Our firm's legal team investigates your accident and looks for evidence of negligence. This includes reviewing incident reports, safety records and medical records. We identify and interview witnesses. We are dedicated to proving fault so that we can help you recover maximum compensation.
We don't back down
The insurance company for the at-fault party may try to make you go away by making a quick, lowball settlement offer. Don't accept any settlement offer from the insurance company until you speak to an attorney first. Make no mistake, the insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible. Lasso Injury Law LLC is determined to get them to pay you what you deserve.
Al knows the tricks insurance companies play to avoid responsibility. He doesn't put up with these tricks and he keeps the pressure on. This aggressive approach usually gets insurance companies to the negotiating table, where they eventually agree to a settlement that works for you. If they won't settle, Al can fight for you in court, where he has won many significant awards for clients.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, call 702-625-8777 for a free consultation. Al can meet with you and go over all your options. You pay us nothing unless we recover damages for you.