Falls caused by slipping or tripping are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in homes and communities. Each year, millions of people are injured by tripping, slipping or falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2015 there were around 9.4 million individuals with injuries caused by falls who were seen in emergency rooms across the United States. Fall accidents can result in serious bodily harm including broken bones, shoulder injuries, TBI head or brain damage and other severe injuries. Slips, trips, & falls in Missouri can occur anywhere including in homes, hospitals, sidewalks, parking garages, retail stores, restaurants, or doctor’s offices.
The risk of falling and being severely injured rises with age due to decreased strength and coordination, balance or vestibular issues and lack of mobility and flexibility. Approximately 95% of all senior citizen hip fractures are caused by falling and falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
How to Prove Fault for Slip & Fall Claims
The reason you are on the property in the first place matters. A business invitee is a person who is on the premises at the invitation of the property owner, such as a patron in a restaurant or retail store, and ordinarily for the mutual economic benefit of both. The duty of a premises owner to a business invitee is absolute. This duty is to actively seek out any dangerous conditions upon the premises and to either warn of its presence and set up a barricade or remedy the dangerous condition to make it safe. On the other hand, a social guest is on the premises at the invitation of the property owner, but not for the economic benefit of the owner. The duty owned to a social guest by and landowner is a bit different than with a business owner. Finally, a trespasser is a person who is on someone’s premises without the owner’s permission.
When dealing with premises liability cases and slip & fall claims in particular, the injured person has a burden of proof that they must fulfill. When you claim property owner negligence, the court will not take you at your word, rather they will need you to prove your claim and demonstrate that the property owner was clearly at fault. This proof includes the fact that a hazardous condition existed, that the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and that they failed to protect the injured person. For instance, allowing a slick substance to cover the floor where pedestrians traverse is a hazardous condition that, if the property or business owner knows is there, could be used to hold the business owner liable for their negligence.
Common Locations and Causes of Slips, Trips, & Falls:
- Doorways and Ramps
- Untreated snowy or icy surfaces
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Areas prone to wetness or spills
- Improperly marked areas of ingress or egress
- Ladders and Stairs
- Parking lots not properly maintained
- Defective or wrinkled carpet or uneven steps/thresholds
- Obstructions in walkways (e.g. hoses, cords, cables, debris, etc.)
- Unguarded platforms, walkways, and work areas 30 inches above ground.
- Inadequate lighting and illumination
- Failure of businesses to meeting building code requirements
What to Do After a Fall Injury:
There are several steps that must be completed after a slip, trip or fall accident in order to preserve evidence and protect the injured person’s claim. Photographs should be taken of the hazard that caused the fall. A written incident report should be made the property owner with a copy retained by the victim. A review of the history of accidents at a location may reveal a history of dangerous conditions and negligence. A trained private investigator may be used to collect witness statements. If the fall and injury occurred in the Kansas City, Missouri area, it is often important to consider hiring an injury attorney to see that all evidence is preserved, and your rights are protected.
How Much is My Case Worth?
Injuries caused by slips, trips & falls in Missouri that are the result of someone’s negligence may entitle the injured person to get reimbursed their costs and losses for their injuries. If it is determined that a claim by a fall victim is compensable, the value of the claim depends upon the severity of the injury suffered and the extent of negligence on the part of the property owner. Medical bills, financial losses such as lost wages and cost of therapy, non-financial losses for physical pain suffered and permanency of injuries may all be compensable. Failure to have a skilled personal injury attorney on your side may result in an inadequate settlement that does not fully cover the costs of an injury. Often, insurance companies for the premise owner will go to great lengths to protect their insured to keep from paying for the harms and damages caused by the property owner. The insurance companies have attorneys either on staff or on retainer who specialize in personal injury defense. Injured victims should also consider hiring a Missouri personal injury attorney to protect them.
However, not all injuries caused by falling on someone’s property or business are compensable. For instance, if the injured person trespassed on someone’s property and got hurt while doing so it is not likely the landowner will be held responsible for their injuries.
We offer a Free Initial Case Evaluation
If you have been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, then please do not hesitate to contact a Kansas City injury attorney from Griggs Injury Law. We may be able to help you prove owner liability and recover the full settlement that you deserve. Our firm is prepared to take on your case and we will vigorously protect your rights every step of the way. Call our office today at (816) 474-0202.