On Saturday mornings, my family would gather around and watch as Looney Tunes villains targeted our favorite characters with anchors and bombs and laugh as Bugs Bunny and friends would retaliate with none other than…banana peels. Although the banana seems less dangerous than your everyday anchor, the slippery peel would turn the characters upside down and flat on their backs.
This theatrical yet serious act was not invented by the Looney Tunes characters though. Rather, the origin of the dangerous banana began in the early 1900s when the popular fruit peel would be left on the ground to rot and create a slimy, slippery hazard, according to the Myth Busters on Discovery.
During that time, this rotting fruit caused many people to fall and suffer resulting injuries. This was the beginning of the slip and fall safety discussion around the country. Fortunately, today a simple banana peel on the ground typically wouldn’t cause you to wipe out, but there are nonetheless other, more common hazards that people now encounter in everyday life.
At Stroud, Flechas & Dalton, we have seen and successfully handled many slip and fall cases.
Our slip and fall clients commonly suffer neck and back injuries; broken bones (hips, legs, wrists, and arms); and serious head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NSFI) over one million Americans visit the ER specifically for slip and fall injuries every year; eight million go to the ER for fall injuries.
So what should people be on the lookout for? Slip and falls can happen almost anywhere and anytime when a property owner or company is negligent. Our slip and fall attorneys have compiled a list of common causes of slip and fall injuries along with how to prevent injury.
Wet or uneven floors: Wet and uneven floors are the most widely known cause of slip and falls. When you walk into restaurants, grocery stores, or offices, you will likely see the yellow “wet floor” signs that remind you to look down and walk cautiously over the water-streaked floor. However, there are instances when property owners are not compliant with safety regulations and wet or uneven floors are not marked and warning is not given.
Aside from wet floors—which can result from spills, improper matting, water damage, etc.—uneven floors can cause falls as well. Uneven floors consist of loose floorboards, uneven stairways and railings, torn carpeting, or ripples in carpet by faulty installment.
Parking lot potholes, cracked or icy sidewalks and driveways, and deteriorating playground equipment can also cause injury.
Tripping hazards or misplaced objects: When you become comfortable with a restaurant or local grocery store being set up in a certain way, it can be surprising when you one day trip over something that wasn’t normally present at that location and fall to the ground. Sometimes, property owners are neglectful and leave out electrical cords or other hazardous objects that they have forgotten to put away, endangering you and your safety.
Weather conditions: The cold and icy weather has been slowly creeping into the southern states in recent years, and residents are feeling the repercussions. Not only is driving dangerous, but walking in your local hotspots can be scary when they are not treated properly for the weather.
Property owners should be responsible for keeping their property safe inside and out. If there is ice, deep puddles, or hazardous snow or rain at or near the entrance to the building, or on a sidewalk or walkway leading from the parking area to the store, precautionary steps should be taken. If you’re carrying your groceries out to your car and immediately slip on ice outside the store on ice or slippery condition that the property owner did not clean up or warn you of, the property owner may be responsible for your injuries.
Improper training at the workplace: Slip and falls are also common at work. In fact, slip and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims, according to NSFI. Wet and uneven ground, mechanical defects, and unpredicted measures can all be common at the workplace, and companies should take ownership, take safety precautions, and provide training to employees on how to handle slip and fall hazards. If you believe that your slip and fall at your workplace could have been prevented, talk to an experienced slip and fall attorney to help determine whether your workplace injury entitles you to workers compensation benefits or other damages.
As previously stated, slip and falls are not uncommon and should be taken seriously by your family, friends, and workplace. Not only are they physically debilitating, but they can also have negative consequences to your emotional and financial well-being. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics cited that twenty two (22) percent of slip and fall accidents resulted in more than 31 days away from work, which can leave you emotionally and financially drained.
If a slip and fall has affected you and your family, it may be time to look into filing a slip and fall claim with the help of an experienced slip and fall attorney.
Remember that a slip and fall claim can only be valid if the property owner knew (or should have known) about the problem and did not take reasonable steps to resolve the issue. For instance, if a property owner knew about the uneven floor and crumpled carpet, knew that customers were consistently in danger, and decided to not do anything about it, then he or she would likely be held accountable for your slip and fall injuries.
If a property owner or company is responsible for your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation to cover medical expenses, lost salary, and even your pain and suffering. You may never get the time back from doctor’s appointments, rehabilitation, and simple recovery—but it is possible to recover enough money to remain financially stable after going through this trying time.
Always be on the lookout for slip and fall hazards, and if injury occurs, contact the attorneys at Stroud, Flechas & Dalton for a free consultation today.