Many thousands of Americans each year are injured or killed in fall accidents. These injuries are especially serious in the increasing elderly population. If someone you know has been involved in a slip and fall accident, here are some things to be aware of:
- If a foreign substance such as water, grease or another liquid is on the floor of the restaurant, grocery store or other floor-ways, this can cause someone to slip. The legal analysis involved asks the question "Did the owner of the premises know or should have known about the foreign substance being on the floor?" Questions as to how long the liquid had been on the floor, and what steps to keep the floor area clean are both important factors. Slippery liquids can come from patrons of the establishment (i.e. someone spills part of a Coke on the floor of a movie theater) or it can be caused by the actions of the property itself (i.e. A leaky air-conditioning unit runs water on a grocery store floor).
- If someone has had a "slip and fall" fall involving brain injury, it is important to establish what caused the individual to fall. It is important to quickly gather witness information, and determine if any of the foreign substance is on the shoes or clothing of the person who had fallen. These need to be collected and stored in a plastic bag. If photographs or video can be taken immediately, all the better.
- Other falls can be caused because of a floor-way being "inherently slippery." Certain types of floor-ways should not fall below a certain degree of slipperiness. This concept known as the "coefficient of friction" is a number that can be established by testing the surface with certain calibrated machines. Depending on the use of the area and the various building codes of the state or locality, a case can be made that a floor area needs to be tested to see if it violates the standard.
- Other falls can be caused by the improper design or building of stairways, for example. There are building codes across the nation that talk about the height and width of stairways, the height of balcony railings, and other parts of buildings. If it can be established that a fall involving brain injury was caused by the building flaw that was in violation of a known state or federal building code, a case can be established.
- Thousands of people each year are injured by falling objects or merchandise. While shopping in large outlet stores, customers are exposed to an increasing number of items which are stacked far above their heads. These can fall resulting in a brain injury. Likewise, many workers are exposed to falling heavy objects which can result in brain injuries.