What is a Slip and Fall Injury?
A slip and fall injury is any injury that you sustain after slipping, tripping or stumbling and falling. Head trauma, fractures and spinal injuries are not uncommon, much like slip and fall accidents themselves. In fact, slip and fall accidents represent over 40% of the preventable injuries in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.
Serious slip-and-fall injuries that occur on another person’s or a business’s property may qualify the victim to file a slip and fall claim, also referred to as a premises liability claim.
Where and why do slip and falls happen in Ontario?
An accident can happen anywhere, from a private home to shopping malls to public parks, and both inside and outside of a building. Structural defects, wet floors, weather-related situations, potholes, ice, and other hidden hazards can all cause a slip-and-fall accident.
According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, only 34% of falling accidents are falls from a higher level to a lower level. The majority (66%) of slip-and-fall accidents occur on the same level. These accidents can occur in various locations.
Some of the spots where these accidents happen are:
- Apartment complexes
- Grocery stores
- Retail stores
- Parking lots
- Swimming pools
- Public restrooms
- Gyms and fitness centers
- Stadiums and arenas
- Escalators and elevators
- Construction sites
- Restaurants and bars
- Parks, playgrounds, and daycares
- Nursing homes
Slip-and-fall accidents generally occur either because of a slick or slippery surface or because of obstructions. Below are a few of the most common causes of slip-and-fall accidents.
- Spilled wet or oily substances that weren’t cleaned up
- Mopped or waxed floors that didn’t have warning signage
- Loose rugs or mats not anchored properly
- Ripples in loose carpeting or warped floorboards left in disrepair
- Thresholds raised too high or that are loose
- Boxes or inventory left in the aisles
- Steps with uneven boards
- Poor lighting
- Potholes, broken pavement, and trenches
See also: Winter Safety Tips: 8 Ways to Avoid Premises Liability Accidents
Types of Injuries in a Slip-and-Fall Accident
Our firm has represented thousands of injured victims throughout the past 60 years, including many slip-and-fall claims. While some slip and falls may only cause minor injuries, many of them can cause serious and even debilitating ones.
Below, we discuss four of the most common types of injuries people sustain when they slip, stumble, trip, and fall.
Back and Neck Injuries
The quick jerking movement of a fall and landing on hard surfaces can easily cause back and neck injuries. Victims may sustain any of the following:
- Herniated or slipped discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Spinal cord damage
- Whiplash-related disorders
- Torn ligaments
Many back injuries can lead to long-term discomfort or disability. When a victim hurts his or her back in a slip-and-fall accident, he or she may develop chronic back pain, lose a degree of mobility, and can even develop degenerative disc disorders.
Head and Brain Trauma
A traumatic brain injury is a major concern in a slip-and-fall accident. When a victim slips and falls, s/he runs the risk of hitting his/her head on a nearby object, wall, or piece of furniture, or slamming the head on the ground upon impact. This may fracture the skull and create an open or closed head injury. The force of the fall can cause damage to the brain, which can have devastating consequences.
Brain-injury patients may have to contend with the following.
- Long-term treatment needs
- Extensive rehabilitation
- Cognitive problems
- Inability to perform normal daily activities
- Mobility issues
- Relationship and behavioral problems
See also: 3 Things a Brain Injury Lawyer Can Do for You
In addition to fractures of the back and of the skull, slip-and-fall victims often sustain fractures to other parts of their bodies, such as:
- Hand and arm fractures
- Leg and foot fractures
- Facial fractures (and dental injuries)
- Hip and pelvis fractures (particularly with older adults)
Fractures can take months to heal and require time away from work, particularly if the victim’s job requires a lot of movement or heavy lifting.
are those that affect the softer tissues of the body, including tendons, ligaments, and muscles. While not as serious as the aforementioned injuries, soft-tissue injuries are quite common in slip-and-fall accidents and can cause difficulties in mobility and other aggravating complications.
Sprains and strains are the most common type of soft-tissue injuries, both of which can be painful and apt to linger.
How Slip-and-Fall Injuries Can Be Compensated
People stumble all the time, and it generally doesn’t cause much lasting harm. However, when someone suffers a serious accident, the damages can be severe and permanent. Victims of accidents that occur as a result of someone else’s negligence or carelessness can contact a local slip-and-fall lawyer to discuss their legal options.
If your accident contains all the elements necessary to prove your claim, you might qualify to receive financial compensation for all your losses related to the accident. Some of the damages you can include in your claim are listed below.
- Emergency room and hospital bills
- Follow-up visits
- Surgeries, medications and other treatments
- Lost wages and loss of benefits
- Lost capacity to work
- Damage to your relationships and marriage because of your injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional disorders
See also: Ontario Slip and Fall Cases: What Can Go Wrong?
Do I have a slip-and-fall claim?
Property owners have a “duty of care” to make sure that their property is reasonably safe. This includes ensuring that there are no hazards that could cause an accident, both indoors and out.
When evaluating your situation, it is important to consider a few things: Was there something the property owner “should have known” was a dangerous situation? Did the property owner take reasonable measures to keep his or her property safe? Have any accidents happened there before? These initial questions, along with a careful evaluation of your individual situation, will assist you in putting together a case.
For a property owner to be held legally liable for your injuries, one of the following must be true:
- The owner of the premises (or an employee) must have caused a dangerous situation.
- The owner of the premises (or an employee) must have known of the dangerous condition and failed to correct it properly.
- The owner of the premises (or an employee) “should have known” a dangerous condition was present.
A lawyer can help you determine if you have a case and lead you through your pursuit for compensation. You may be entitled to recompense for pain and suffering, loss of income, health care expenses, housekeeping costs and any other economic losses incurred. Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers for the legal advice you need to successfully pursue your claim for compensation.