Premises Liability: Slip and Fall Accidents

Information from the National Safety Council (NSC) Injury Facts for 2011 shows more than 8 million cases of slip and fall accidents in the US every year. It should have been easy to dismiss this report if not for the fact that this same accident has also been identified as one of the most common causes of serious injuries among people aged 55 and older.

Though slips and falls can be easily deemed as simple accidents, these, however, they often end in serious results that are enough to render elderly victims incapable of enjoying an active life again. And while one may suppose that these only happen in dangerous areas, better think again because reports also show that most of these accidents occur in places where people frequently go to (and never expect to suffer this accident), like malls, restaurants, hospitals, churches, offices, resorts (beside pool areas), museums, parks, a relative or a friend’s house, and so forth. (Statistics from the UD Department of Labor also shows that slip and fall accidents are, presently, the most common causes of injuries in working environments).

Some of the typical causes of slip and fall accidents include slippery floors, moss-covered floors, uneven floors or walkways, exposed wires, uncovered metal or wooden pegs, lack of warning signs on wet floorings, unnecessary mess, lack of railings or guardrails, inadequate lighting along walkways, and places where there are non-noticeable trip hazards. The most common types of serious injuries suffered by victims on the other hand, include hip fracture, broken wrist or elbow, knee injury, torn muscle and ligament, injury to the head or neck, back injury, etc.

So many cases of slip and fall accidents have been blamed on the owner of the property (where the accidents occurred) rather than on the victim, on the assumption that the victim has acted carelessly. The mere fact that a property owner failed to place a warning sign (such as slippery or wet floor or uneven flooring) at an area of his/her place of responsibility which may be prone to slip and fall accidents, such can be enough to render him/her liable for any injury in case of an accident.

Failure to render appropriate action where such is called for is considered negligence. And, if not for negligence, then so many accidents could have been (and will be) prevented. While no property owner would want anyone suffering a slip and fall accident inside his/her area of responsibility, failure to exercise full responsibility in making sure that no part of his/her premise pose a risk to such accident will not lessen his/her degree of liability (unless, of course, if the accident occurred due to the victim’s direct act of disregarding warning signs that have been properly put in place).