What are some common causes of slip and fall accidents?

Falls are unquestionably the most common form injury-producing accidents in this country today. Literally millions of people suffer an injury from falling every year. But why are there so many slip and fall injuries? To understand why people are injured when they slip and fall, an explanation the basic scientific principle of gravity would be helpful.  Gravity is a magnetic attraction that pulls everything to the earth’s surface. If you hold a ball out in your hand and drop it, the earth pulls the ball to the surface. The same thing happens to the human body when you fall, the force of gravity pulls your body to the ground, causing the body to hit a hard surface such as the floor. Most fall accidents occur when a person is moving, walking or running. Such motion many times aggravates the injury by adding the speed of the body’s motion to the force of the fall. In addition, our own natural “defense mechanisms” of trying to break the fall by twisting and/or turning can pull muscles or tendons, causing even greater injuries than the direct impact of the fall.

There are four (4) primary types of accidents that may result in an injury from a fall: 1) Trip-and-fall accidents, in which someone encounters a foreign object in their walking path; 2) Stump-and-fall accidents, in which a moving foot encounters an hazard in the walking surface, whether it is a sticky point on the surface or a hazard that impedes the foot; 3) Step-and-fall accidents, in which the foot finds an unexpected failure or hole in the walking surface; and 4) Slip-and-fall accidents, in which the contact of the shoe with the floor fails to support the walker’s center of gravity over the area stepped upon.

By far, a slip and fall is the most common accident. Foot contact is broken, and the individual attempts to maintain balance. Recovery of equilibrium is reflexive and not under conscious control in most cases. If the person strikes a rigid surface with a fleshy part of the body, the injuries are likely to be minimal. But if the victim strikes a bony body part, the injuries may be more severe.

There are many obvious causes for a person to slip or trip, such as surfaces that are slippery because of water or other liquids certainly result in many fall related injuries. Foreign objects such as plastic or cardboard contribute to the number of fall related accidents. Improper wax on a floor can cause an unreasonably slick surface creating potentially slippery surfaces. Clothing stores may have hangers and/or clothing items that have fallen to the floor causing unexpected hazards that could cause a fall. Stock clerks could leave inventory in aisles causing unsuspecting customers to trip over boxes. Outside, uneven, broken or missing pavements on sidewalks, or in parking lots, have caused accidents on a regular basis. Holes in the ground and foreign objects in grass adjacent to sidewalks also create dangerous conditions. Poor lighting and other distractions add to the dangers above.

While the environment that we walk in results in the majority reasons we slip and fall, not all accidents can be totally attributed to another’s conduct. Physical and mental limitations, such as poor vision or the inability to cognitively recognize an obvious danger have been known to cause accidents on a regular basis. Wearing poor, or no, footwear can inhibit your ability to maintain balance, increasing your chances to fall and injure yourself.

Liability for injuries suffered as the result of falling on another’s property is sometimes not as clear as you would think. If you have the misfortune to fall on another’s property you may have a claim for your injuries. You need the help of a qualified personal injury attorney to be sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to, and that your rights are fully protected. The Law Office of  Dan Newlin & Partners are exactly those types of attorneys. Our firm has helped over 10,000 injured people with personal injury claims, and would be honored to assist you. Call us today  at (407) 888-8000. The call is free, but the advice could be priceless.