Falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, accounting for approximately 8.9 million visits to the emergency department annually (NSC Injury Facts 2011). Falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in homes and communities, resulting in more than 25,000 fatalities in 2009. The risk of falling, and fall-related problems, rises with age and is a serious issue in homes and communities.
Types of Falls
There are two types of falls: elevated falls and same-level falls. Same-level falls are more frequent, but elevated falls are more severe. Same-level falls are generally slips or trips. An injury results when an individual hits a walking or working surface, or strikes some other object during the fall. Slips are usually caused by a slippery surface and compounded by wearing the wrong footwear. Shoes with soft rubber soles and heels with rubber cleats usually provide the best traction t prevent slips and falls. Trips and falls occur when the foot strikes an object and is suddenly stopped. The upper body is thrown forward and a fall occurs. As little as a 3/8" rise in a walkway can cause a person to "stub" his toe resulting in a trip and fall.
These injuries frequently occur when an area intended to be a pedestrian walkway is carelessly designed or maintained. Trip hazards should be repaired or removed by a property owner, and the failure to do so may constitute a failure to use reasonable care.
A property owner's failure to use reasonable care to keep their property in safe condition is negligence. However, each case is different and the actual liability varies depending on the particular facts.
An experienced premises liability lawyer can determine whether liability may exist in a particular case and help an injured person recover damages for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
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