What Should You Do If You Slip or Trip & Fall?

More Than 300,000 Serious Injuries Result From Slip-And-Fall Accidents In The United States. Know The Facts And Your Legal Rights.

If you’ve sustained an injury or trauma after a fall, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, slip/trip and fall injuries consistently rank as the most common cause of emergency room visits. More than 16,000 deaths annually are attributed to falls, ranking second only to automobile collisions in overall fatalities.

In addition, experts estimate that more than 300,000 serious injuries and millions of moderate and minor injuries each year are the result of slip/trip and fall incidents — and according to recent reports, this widespread public safety problem appears to be getting worse.

Slip/Trip and Fall Fast Facts

  • Children and elderly people are particularly vulnerable to slip/trip and fall injuries.
  • Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits for children 10 and under and adults over the age of 65.
  • One in three elderly men and women suffer serious fall-related injuries each year.
  • Common causes of slip/trip and fall injuries include uneven pathways, unsafe or improper design, potholes, poorly lit or unmarked sidewalks or stairs, spills, leaks, puddles, grease, slippery surfaces (such as wet or overly waxed or improperly waxed floors), uneven or torn carpeting, improper or negligent maintenance, and objects or obstructions on the floor.
  • By 2020, experts estimate that slip/trip and fall injuries will result in productivity losses of more than $32 billion annually.
  • Slip/trip and falls can cause very serious injuries such as fractures and dislocations, back injuries, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.

What Should You Do If You Slip/Trip and Fall?

After you’ve been involved in a slip/trip and fall incident, your initial impulse may be to feel ashamed or embarrassed. However, according to safety experts, it’s likely that clumsiness was not the cause of your slip/trip and fall injury. Recent research found that more than 70 percent of slip/trip and fall injuries were caused by external circumstances, rather than being the fault of the injured individual.

You see, whether your fall occurred on public property, in a retail establishment, or in a private residence, you probably assumed that conditions would be safe enough to allow you to pass through unharmed. That’s not just human nature; it’s also an important legal principle. People have the legal right to expect that the conditions of most government property, public places, offices, stores, companies, and private homes will adhere to basic safety standards.

No matter how careful you are, you could walk into a situation in which unsafe conditions make a slip/trip and fall injury unavoidable. If the worst happens and you’re injured in a slip/trip and fall incident, follow these guidelines to protect your health and legal rights.

  • Ask for help. All too often, victims of slip/trip and fall injuries just get up, brush themselves off, and walk away, even if they’re in considerable pain. Instead, you should stay where you are and ask for immediate assistance. If you’re sure you can stand up safely, do so very slowly, but don’t leave the scene.
  • Get medical assistance. If you’ve ever been hurt in a fall, you know that it can sometimes take weeks for the full extent of the injuries to become apparent. That’s why it’s so important to seek medical attention immediately. A full examination conducted in the hours after your fall will help doctors assess the damage.
  • Document the situation. Although your very first priority should be seeking medical care, it’s also important to try to preserve evidence at the scene of your fall. If you’re incapacitated, enlist the help of a friend, family member, or helpful bystander. Take photos of the scene if possible, and ask any available witnesses if they would be willing to provide their account of what happened.
  • Make an official report. If you’re in a public place, ask a manager to help you file an accident report. Most companies keep forms on hand in case anyone is injured on the premises. Completing this report will help you document your side of the story and initiate an official paper trail that may be helpful later on.
  • Protect your legal rights. If you’ve been hurt in a slip/trip and fall incident, you deserve to know what your rights are. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine whether you have a valid premises liability claim and help you understand the legal nuts and bolts of your case. As soon as possible after your injuries have been treated, get in touch with a reputable attorney in your area.