Slip and fall accidents are the cause of 1 million emergency room visits in the United States each year and lead to about 20,000 deaths annually, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). People can slip and fall at work, at home, at stores, on sidewalks and parking lots, and in a variety of other public and private locations.
In many cases, these accidents could have been avoided if proper safety measures had been taken or if the property owner had been more attentive to maintaining a safe premises free of hazards. These negligent property owners can be held accountable for the injuries they cause.
The slip and fall lawyers at Millar & Mixon, LLC, have been representing clients injured in Georgia slip and fall accidents since 1995. We have recovered millions of dollars for injured victims. If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact us today to learn how we can help you. Call 404-620-4301 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation about your case.
Where Do Atlanta Slip-and-Fall Accidents Occur?
Although statistics show that falls are more likely to occur among the elderly or very young, anyone can suffer a slip and fall (or trip and fall) at any time. The reason that slip and fall accidents are so common is that they can happen almost anywhere. Locations where these accidents can occur in Atlanta and elsewhere are:
- Homes – When a person invites you onto their property, they need to make sure the area is safe from hazards such as holes or uneven or broken walkways.
- Work– Falls are the primary cause of missed work days and the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims. Construction sites, in particular, present such slip-and-fall risks as slick floors, uncovered openings and areas cluttered with materials and equipment.
- Stores and restaurants– Falls can occur in department stores, grocery stores, superstores like a Walmart or in small shops. The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association says more than 3 million food service employees and 1 million patrons experience slip-and-fall injuries annually in restaurants.
- Sidewalks and parking lots– Sidewalks and parking lots present a great risk of slip-and-fall injuries during winter months and at night if they are not properly lit. Poor maintenance that leaves potholes or loose paving stones can also lead to falls. Falls on sidewalks can create significant legal complications if the sidewalk was public property. Filing a claim against the government raises issues with governmental immunity that do not arise in a lawsuit filed against a private party.
- Elevators and escalators– About 10,800 people are injured on elevators (10,600) or escalators (6,000) every year, according to Consumer Watch. Many people slip or trip and fall when elevators or escalators start or stop abruptly, or are misaligned with the floor.
- Office buildings – While falls are especially prevalent in the trucking industry, construction industry and in the mining and maintenance industries, the NFSI indicates that falls occur in all manufacturing and service sectors. This means that office workers and those visiting offices aren’t immune from the risk of a fall, especially when lobbies are freshly mopped and slippery.
- Apartment complexes –A fall in an apartment complex can also present legal complications because it is necessary to determine whether the landlord or the apartment renter (or both) should be held responsible for the resulting injuries.
- Sports arenas – Sports arenas are crowded and dangerous places, and a fall could happen on an escalator, on steps, when walking in the hallways or in the bleachers.
- Public parks –Like public sidewalks, public parks present the possibility that the government will be the one responsible for the injuries. Again, this makes a claim more complicated due to limited governmental immunity protections.
- Nursing homes –The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 1,800 older adults living in nursing homes die each year from fall-related injuries, and those who survive falls frequently sustain hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries that result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life.
Each day, people spend a large portion of their time in one or more of these places when they are at home, work, school, running errands or participating in recreational activities. With so many potential locations presenting a risk of a fall, it should come as no surprise that slip-and-fall cases are common throughout Atlanta and Georgia.
Types of Slip and Fall Accidents in the South
While slip and fall accidents can happen almost anywhere, they are most likely to occur when maintenance problems exist or when a building is not designed in a safe and effective way. The most common reasons for slip-and-fall accidents include:
- Wet and/or slippery floors
- Overcrowded aisles at stores
- Icy road or sidewalk surfaces, especially when “black ice” is present
- Uneven pavement or surfaces
- Debris or other tripping hazards in a store aisle, hallway, sidewalk, walking path, etc.
- Torn carpets
- Cracks or holes (including potholes) in the floor, pavement or ground
- Broken railings
- Exposed cables
- Insufficient lighting
- Sudden dips or rises in the height of pavement or flooring.
Any type of slip and fall, trip and fall, stumble and fall or misstep and fall can be potentially serious. These are all classified as falls on the same level, as opposed to falls that occur when you topple from a height or raised surface.
Approximately 60 percent of all slip-and-fall injuries that lead to compensation are falls on the same level, according to the National Floor Safety Institute.
Types of Slip and Fall Injuries
When you experience a slip and fall, you can suffer a wide variety of different injuries depending on your age, how far you fell and how you landed. Some of the most common types of slip and fall injuries include:
- Broken bones – Many people who experience a fall will break their wrist as a result of using their hands to brace themselves as they fall. However, a variety of different bones in the body could suffer breaks, depending on how you land.
- Hip fractures – Hip fractures are especially common – and especially devastating – among the elderly. More than 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falling, most often by falling sideways onto the hip, the CDC says. One out of five hip fracture patients dies within a year of their injury.
- Knee injuries – A torn ACL or other knee injuries are all potential results of a slip-and-fall accident.
- Shoulder injuries – A torn rotator cuff is just one of several shoulder injuries that a person can experience as a result of a slip-and-fall accident.
- Brain injuries – Brain injuries can range from a concussion to a serious and long-lasting case of traumatic brain injury, or TBI. A TBI can cause memory lapses, mood changes, cognitive impairment, fatigue and other very serious health problems that you may never fully recover from.
- Neck injuries – Neck injuries can range from whiplash to a broken neck. Whiplash occurs when the neck is thrust forward and then backward too quickly and/or too far, damaging the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments and joints) in the neck. A person may recover completely from whiplash or may have ongoing and painful symptoms.
- Back injuries – Back injuries can include a slipped or herniated disc, vertebrae damage, soft tissue damage or other issues. Back injuries often cause significant pain and can be difficult to treat.
- Spinal cord injuries – A complete spinal cord injury can cause total paralysis, while an incomplete spinal cord injury resulting from a slip and fall can cause partial paralysis below the affected area.
In many cases, the injury resulting from a fall will have serious and ongoing consequences. You may incur significant medical bills and be limited in your ability to work or even be unable to earn a living after suffering a slip-and-fall injury.
Recovering Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury
When a slip and fall accident occurs, the costs of medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering and other damages can be very high. In the event that a slip and fall leads to death, the costs may be even higher as a family is left without the companionship, love and financial support that their loved one provided.
The slip and fall attorneys at Millar & Mixon, LLC, can assist injured victims in recovering compensation after a slip-and-fall injury has occurred. The burden is on the injured victim (or his surviving family members) to prove that the premises owner or person responsible for the premises should be held liable for the injury.
Under Georgia law, property owners have an obligation to their visitors or patrons to make sure that the property is reasonably safe. The nature of this obligation is based on the reason for the injured person’s being on the property. Customers at a store are considered “invitees.” Storeowners have the highest obligation to ensure their safety by regularly checking the store for any potential hazards and by correcting them or warning guests of the danger. Casual visitors such as friends or neighbors, on the other hand, are called “licensees.” Those who invite them are expected to fix dangers or warn guests about dangers only if the homeowner knows or reasonably should know about the danger.
To win your slip and fall case, you’ll need to establish what your status was. You’ll need to prove that the property owner or occupier was more careless than they should have been. For example, you’ll need to show the store or property owner knew or should have known about the danger (had notice), had a chance to warn you or correct the problem, and failed to do so.
When a personal injury attorney from Millar & Mixon, LLC, represents you, we will ensure you have the proof you need to make your slip and fall case. We can help you find engineers and other expert witnesses, subpoena maintenance records and otherwise gather evidence that the property owner should be held liable. We will work to negotiate a settlement when a fair resolution is possible outside of court, and we are always ready to go to trial to represent you.
Contact Our Atlanta Slip and Fall Attorneys Today
At Millar & Mixon, LLC, we offer a free evaluation of your case. If we represent you, we will take your case on a contingency-fee basis. This means that if we do not recover compensation for you, you will not be charged legal fees.
To learn more about how we can help and to schedule your free consultation, get in touch with us today using our online contact form or calling 404-620-4301.
National Floor Safety Institute
Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association – Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace
Consumer Watch: Elevator Accidents, Escalator Accidents
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Falls in Nursing Homes
CDC – Hip Fractures Among Older Adults