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Slipping and falling may not seem like a major concern for many people, but it can often result in severe and devastating injuries for certain individuals, especially the elderly. These types of accidents can cause many different types of injuries, including broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, severe bruising, and cuts and scrapes. In some cases, slipping and falling can render the victim immobilized for a period of time, which can result in even more severe injury. Below, we will cover the basics of slip and fall accidents. For more information about any topic herein, please contact a slip and fall lawyer.
All trip and fall accidents occur more or less in the same way — something (an environmental condition, an object, etc.), comes between the victim’s feet and the ground or floor, which causes them to lose balance and fall. But there are many different ways this can occur. Some of the most common include:
Some of these conditions are more prevalent at certain times and places than others. For example, the threat of slipping and falling on ice is much higher in the winter than at other times of the year. Likewise, the threat of slipping and falling on a freshly-mopped floor is greater in commercial establishments than in one’s own home.
Legal liability for injuries caused by slips and falls is rooted in the law of negligence. Generally, all landowners owe visitors upon their property a duty of care to keep them safe from injury. However, the specific duty the landowner owes depends upon which type of visitor the victim is. In Maryland, visitors onto the property of another are split into three main categories:
To invitees, property owners owe a duty to inspect their premises and make them safe and to warn them of the existence of any hazards on the property. To licensees, property owners owe a duty to use reasonable care to keep the premises safe and to warn them of any known dangers the licensee could not discover on his or her own. To trespassers, property owners merely must refrain from causing intentional harm.
Anytime you experience a traumatic event, like a trip and fall or any other kind of accident, you are going to feel overwhelmed. It is hard to know what to do. While your slip and fall lawyer will help you compile evidence and gather all the necessary records and information that will be needed to pursue your claim, there are certain steps you should try to take as soon as you can after the accident to preserve your health and any evidence you might need for a possible lawsuit.
Do not delay consulting with a doctor after a fall. While some trip and fall victims have obvious injuries — such as broken bones, sprains and/or bruises — many injuries do not reveal themselves right away. Do not assume that just because you are not in pain immediately following a fall that you are not injured. You need a medical professional to assess your condition after your slip and fall.
Pay attention to as many details as you can about the area where you fell. Was there adequate lighting? Was the floor wet? Were there cracks in the flooring or did the pavement appear uneven? Were the aisles crowded or too narrow? Is there anything in the immediate area that could have contributed to your fall? If you can, dictate what you are seeing around you into your phone. Take pictures from as many angles as possible.
If your fall occurs in a retail space or other type of public building where employees are present, ask an employee to inform a manager that you fell. Also ask to fill out an incident report and be sure to take a copy of the report with you when you leave. If management tries to convince you to sign anything, explain that you need to talk to your slip and fall attorney first.
If anyone stopped to help you or if you noticed that people were nearby you when you fell, ask them for their contact information. Try to get their full names, their addresses, and their phone numbers.
If you have suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to recovery through a personal injury action. For more information about slip and fall claims, please contact a Maryland slip and fall lawyer at the Law Offices of Thomas E. Pyles by calling 301-705-5006 or filling out our online form. Our comprehensive personal injury law firm has main offices in Waldorf, Laurel and Leornardtown.