Slip, Trip and Fall
Everyone’s done it. That embarrassing moment when you’re in a restaurant walking in front of a group of people and suddenly your foot slips out from under you and your face decides to greet the floor. It can happen to the best of us. Old, young, rich, poor… And it can happen anywhere, any day, and at any time.
The National Floor Safety Institute provides some startling and surprising facts about slipping, tripping, and falling:
- Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident.
- Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls.
- Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
- According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year.
- Of all fractures from falls, hip fractures are the most serious and lead to the greatest health problems and number of deaths.
- 22% of slip/fall incidents resulted in more than 31 days away from work (US Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- Compensation & medical costs associated with employee slip/fall accidents is approximately $70 billion annually (National Safety Council Injury Facts).
- Total injuries due to falls estimated at $13-14 million per year in U.S. Falls are the number one cause of accidental injury, resulting in 20.8 percent of all emergency room visits.
What usually runs through our minds in those mortifying moments when we’ve just fallen and hit the floor? Who saw that? What did I slip on? How did that happen? These are the questions that first pop into our head, and upon closer inspection of our surroundings and our own physical well-being in that moment, the more serious questions start to arise. Am I hurt? Can I get up? Where’s the manager? And if you realize you’ve actually sustained some form of personal injury, what could be the most relevant and important question in the whole scenario emerges. Should I sue?
The general law in Rhode Island is that an owner has the duty to protect individuals on the premises against any risk from dangerous conditions by using reasonable care to properly maintain the establishment. In order to file a lawsuit and have a proper claim, an owner must have known about the dangerous condition and failed to rectify the situation. In addition, sufficient evidence must be presented that the owner did, in fact, neglect to correct the problem.
When we fall, we get embarrassed. It’s often our own pride that gets bruised and not our bodies. Suing is an avenue that can provide welcome relief from situations such as unexpected medical bills and loss of income due to time away from work. The law provides protection and compensation to those who have suffered due to negligence. But before deciding to sue, consult the proper channels to determine if your slip was just a trip, or if your spill constitutes legal action and restitution.