Countless slip and falls occur every day. Many of these are minor incidents, where the only injury to speak of is to the ego of the person who fell. However, such accidents can cause serious injury, often to such an extent as to cause permanent or long-term impairment. While it’s not possible to prevent every single slip and fall injury, it’s vital to know that many can be prevented—as well as how to prevent them, what to do following an accident, and what options are open to you.
Preventing Slip and Falls Accidents
To prevent slip and falls, you must understand how they happen. A common cause is environmental factors—wet or slippery surfaces, uneven carpeting, unnecessary clutter, structural damage to flooring, stairs, or walkways, uneven door thresholds, and other such issues. Many of these can be difficult to spot at first glance, making them high-risk factors for a slip and falls injury. If you are the owner or occupier of a property, then you have a legal responsibility to look out for these environmental factors and address them as quickly as you can to prevent accidents. As a pedestrian or as a guest on another’s property, it pays to be attentive to your surroundings. Despite it being the occupier’s responsibility to maintain the premises, legally you have a certain degree of responsibility to take reasonable care of yourself (we’ll get back to that later).
Other factors, like weather, or loose or ill-fitting clothing and footwear, are much easier to manage. In particular, footwear which is either loose or inappropriate for the weather poses a significant risk, so always be sure to wear the right shoes, boots, or sandals for the occasion!
In the Event of a Slip and Fall Injury
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident that could have been prevented through proper maintenance, you have the option of pursuing compensation through a civil suit—especially if the injury causes impairment, loss of income, or both. However, this is where taking care wherever you go comes into things; if the defendant in a civil suit for a slip and fall accident can prove that you were being careless at the time of the accident, then you will receive less in damages relative to how much of the fault lies with you (this is called Contributory Negligence).