The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries nationwide. Statistics indicate that one in five falls causes serious injuries, such as broken bones or head injuries. These accidents result in approximately three million fall-related emergency department visits, more than 800,000 hospitalizations, and nearly 30,000 fatalities. Those who suffer injuries in a Kentucky accident should consult with an attorney to determine who is responsible for their slip and fall accident.
What Are Slip-and-Fall Accidents?
Slips and falls occur when the friction between a person’s foot or shoe and floor provides insufficient resistance to the forces that arise during stepping. In contrast, a trip-and-fall accident occurs when a person is unexpectedly unable to clear the ground.
Falls from stairs and heights are endemic throughout society, affecting all ages. These incidents are one of the primary sources of injuries and fatalities at work, at home, and during leisure activities. From a systematic perspective, the distinction between occupational and non-occupational slips and falls, and falls on the same level vs. falls from heights, is significant.
Common Injuries After a Slip-and-Fall Accident
Across the United States, about 28% of adults report falling each year. While not all falls result in an injury, nearly 40% of those who fall reported an injury that required medical treatment. Moreover, statistics indicate that Kentucky has a higher-than-average percentage of falls.
Approximately one in five falls results in a severe injury such as a broken bone or head injury. These injuries can significantly impact the fall victim’s ability to engage in their activities of daily living. Let’s look at some of the most common injuries that occur after a Kentucky slip-and-fall incident.
The force of falling onto a hard surface can result in broken bones. Although older adults are more susceptible to fractures and broken bones, any accident victim can experience these injuries. Fractured hips tend to cause the most long-term damage; however, any broken bone may require extensive and long-term treatment.
Chronic pain from any fall injury can have long-lasting consequences. Many slip-and-fall victims experience chronic pain and discomfort from their falls. Those who experience severe pain might not be able to engage in necessary activities of their daily lives or spend meaningful time with their loved ones.
Cuts and Lacerations
Falling on asphalt, debris, broken glass, or other dangerous surfaces can result in severe cuts and lacerations. These injuries could require stitches, sutures, staples, or skin grafts. Further, the abrasions or cuts might become infected, affect nerves, or leave scars.
Striking the ground can cause broken teeth, nose fractures, and eye injuries. In some cases, these injuries can cause permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Slips and falls can result in an array of head injuries. While concussions are considered the mildest form of head injury, they can still cause debilitating headaches, sensitivity, and nausea. Further, fall victims may experience other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), such as a hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, coup-contrecoup injuries, and diffuse axonal injuries.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Slips and falls can cause spinal cord injuries such as fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, pinched nerves, and other painful conditions. The symptoms can vary, ranging from pain and limited mobility to paralysis.
Certain conditions can make one more likely to fall. Some individual risk factors include:
- Difficulties with balance,
- Foot pain,
- Lower body weakness,
- Use of medicines that affect balance, and
- Vitamin D deficiency.
Despite these risk factors, most falls are preventable and involve negligence.
You Experienced a Slip and Fall: Who Is Liable?
Determining who is responsible for a slip and fall accident in Kentucky requires understanding the state’s premises liability and personal injury laws. The first step in holding another party accountable is establishing where and why the accident occurred. Typically the entity that created the unsafe condition is liable for the victim’s losses and damages.
Where Do Slips and Falls Happen?
Slips and falls can occur anywhere, but they happen most often at the following locations:
- Retail or other businesses,
- Friend’s homes,
- Private residences,
- Public or governmental buildings,
- Retirement homes, or
Slips and falls can happen anywhere, but these are the most common culprits.
Some responsible parties in slip-and-fall accidents include the following:
- Property owners,
- Property lessors,
- Property lessees,
- Third-parties, or
Other parties can be responsible too, but these are the most common parties to look at when determining liability.
How to Prove Liability
Liability largely depends on the unique circumstances of the accident. In most Kentucky slip-and-fall cases, the victim must prove the following:
- The property was in an unsafe condition or contained a hazard;
- The owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition; and
- The owner had a reasonable opportunity to remedy or warn of the condition, which was not reasonably open and obvious to the victim.
However, cases involving governmental entities and workplaces contain additional requirements and burdens. Accordingly, accident victims should consult an experienced Kentucky slip-and-fall attorney to discuss who is liable in a slip-and-fall accident.
Recovering Damages After a Kentucky Slip-and-Fall Accident
A successful slip-and-fall lawsuit should cover the costs and losses the injury victim experienced. Some available compensation could include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning capacity,
- Loss of consortium,
- Permanent injury or disability, and
- Pain and suffering.
An experienced Kentucky injury lawyer can help accident victims maximize their recovery and secure valuable compensation for their damages.
Did You Fall at a Business or While on Another’s Property?
If you or a loved one recently suffered serious injuries and want to know who can be held liable for your slip and fall, the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC can help. For more than a decade, Attorney Seth Gladstein has proudly represented accident victims in all types of personal injury cases, including slips and falls. He is considerate of the fact that the weeks, months, and even years after an accident can be challenging, and he does everything possible to make the recovery process as easy on you as possible. To learn more and to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Attorney Gladstein, call us at 502-791-9000. You can also connect with us through our secure online contact form.