Minor Slip & Falls Can Cause Major Problems
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Although slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk or slick surface might seem trivial, the reality is that minor slips and falls cause major problems. Every year, nearly one million Americans suffer slip and fall accidents that require a hospital visit, often leaving victims with immediate physical injuries, long-term consequences, and lasting psychological trauma.
Our slip and fall attorneys understand the effect a slip and fall accident can have on your well-being. When someone else’s carelessness causes your injuries, we can help you seek compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and the impact of the injuries on your life.
What’s Considered a Minor Slip & Fall?
Minor slips and falls can occur in many everyday situations. These incidents are caused by hazardous conditions in various settings, such as slippery walkways, inside business lobbies, or on slick tiled floors in retail stores. Common examples include:
- Wet floors. Slips and falls can happen on wet surfaces, like freshly cleaned floors in supermarkets, restaurants, or public restrooms. These places may seem safe, but people can easily slip and get hurt if they don’t have proper warning signs.
- Uneven surfaces. Cracked sidewalks and bumpy parking lots, especially in neighborhoods, can catch pedestrians off guard and lead to slips and falls. Uneven flooring inside homes, sometimes hidden under rugs, can cause these accidents.
- Poor lighting. If places are not well-lit, it can lead to slips and falls. Dark parking garages, poorly lit stairwells, and dim hallways in public and private spaces make it hard to see where you’re going, increasing the chances of accidents.
- Cluttered walkways. Stores, warehouses, and construction sites are common spots for slip and falls. Things left in walkways, like merchandise, tools, or building materials, can quickly make these places risky for customers and workers.
- Defective stairs. Stairs can be a hazard in homes and businesses. Broken handrails, loose steps, and slippery surfaces on stairs can make falls more likely.
- Weather-related conditions. The weather can turn any surface into a slippery danger. Icy sidewalks, wet floors because of rain or snow, or a lack of maintenance during bad weather can quickly make ordinary paths unsafe.
How Does a Minor Slip & Fall Cause Major Problems?
Minor slips and falls often result in immediate physical injuries, with the severity varying based on factors such as age, physical condition, and the circumstances of the fall. Even a so-called minor slip and fall can cause major problems like the following physical complications:
- Sprains and strains. A simple slip can lead to painful sprains or strains, which, while not life-threatening, can impede your ability to perform everyday tasks, causing discomfort and inconvenience.
- Fractures. Falling on a hard surface can result in broken bones or hip fractures, causing severe pain and mobility limitations. They can also require surgery or prolonged rehabilitation.
- Head injuries. Slips and falls can lead to head injuries such as concussions, traumatic brain injury, or spinal cord injury, which may disrupt cognitive function, mood, and overall well-being.
- Wounds and contusions. Superficial injuries like cuts and bruises may not seem major, but they can still be painful and may cause lasting scars.
- Chronic pain. Serious injuries sustained in a slip and fall can lead to chronic pain, which may persist long after the incident. This constant discomfort can stop you from performing daily activities and reduce your overall quality of life.
- Mobility issues. Injuries from slips and falls can lead to ongoing mobility issues, which may require mobility aids like crutches, wheelchairs, or canes, making it challenging to move freely and independently.
- Lifestyle changes. Prolonged pain and mobility issues may force you to give up hobbies or sports or alter your career. This can profoundly impact your life, leading to feelings of loss and frustration.
Psychological Impacts of a Slip & Fall
Besides the immediate physical injuries and long-term effects, slip and fall accidents can also lead to psychological consequences. These emotional repercussions can worsen the overall impact of what may initially seem like a minor incident:
- Anxiety. You may develop anxiety, especially when faced with similar environments or situations that remind you of the fall. Fear of experiencing another slip and fall can be a constant source of distress and may limit your engagement in daily activities.
- Depression. Coping with the aftermath of a slip and fall can trigger feelings of depression. These emotions may manifest as sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If your accident was particularly severe, you may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms can include recurring flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and heightened emotional distress when reminded of the accident. In one study, 30.5% of elderly fall victims showed signs of PTSD up to two months after the incident.
Who’s Responsible for Your Damages After a Slip & Fall?
After a slip and fall accident, understanding who is responsible for your damages can help you get the compensation you need for recovery. In Michigan, premises liability laws establish obligations for property owners, businesses, and managers to maintain safe environments for visitors and customers.
- Property owners. Residential and commercial property owners are entrusted with a fundamental duty of care for visitors to their premises. Whether it’s a private home, apartment building, or a bustling retail establishment, property owners must be aware of and warn of hazards and remove dangers that could lead to injury.
- Businesses. Businesses open to the public have an added layer of responsibility. In addition to maintaining physical premises, they must ensure that their operations don’t create unsafe conditions. For example, a grocery store must promptly clean up spills to prevent slip hazards.
- Managers. Property owners often delegate their responsibilities to property managers or management companies, who carry an equivalent duty of care to maintain a safe environment.
Understanding the specific responsibilities that property owners, businesses, and managers have under premises liability is vital. They are obligated to:
- Regular maintenance. Owners must promptly address potential hazards to prevent accidents. This includes fixing broken floorboards, repairing uneven surfaces, and addressing issues that may lead to slip and fall incidents.
- Warning signs. Clear and conspicuous warning signs for potential dangers or slippery surfaces are essential. When a hazard cannot be immediately fixed, the owner must place clear warning signs to alert visitors and enable them to exercise caution.
- Adequate lighting. Property owners must install adequate lighting to help visitors stay safe when walking. This includes ensuring well-lit walkways and hallways, sufficient lighting in staircases and entryways, and ample light in parking areas and outdoor paths.
- Proper handrails. Handrails, particularly on staircases or elevated locations, must be stable and well-maintained to prevent accidents and support individuals.
Should You Hire a Slip & Fall Attorney After an Accident?
The legal landscape surrounding slip and fall cases is complex, making it challenging to handle the claims process independently. At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., we help you with every step of your slip and fall claim so you can seek fair compensation.
Here are the key reasons why hiring a slip and fall attorney is crucial to your case:
- Liability determination. Identifying the responsible party in a slip and fall case can be challenging. Property owners or businesses may try to shift the blame. We will assess the situation, gather evidence, and identify the liable party.
- Negotiating with insurance companies. Insurers might offer a settlement that doesn’t fully account for your injuries and losses. Our attorneys will use our years of experience negotiating with insurance providers to secure you a fair compensation offer.
- Litigation support. If the insurer refuses to settle, we can represent you during litigation in court. Our accomplished attorneys can effectively represent your interests before a judge or jury, helping you receive a full damage award for your injuries.
- Legal complexity. We are knowledgeable in the laws, regulations, and precedents that can influence your case. For example, on July 28, 2023, the Michigan Supreme Court changed how open and obvious hazards are handled in slip and fall cases. This opens up the ability to file a claim, even if the cause of your fall was “obvious.” We will use our knowledge of slip and fall injury case law to build a solid claim and help you win compensation.
- Maximizing compensation. Our primary objective is to help you receive maximum compensation. We consider your immediate medical expenses, long-term care needs, and other damages you’ve suffered. Registered nurse and senior partner attorney Eileen Kroll can use her medical background to review your medical records, connect your injuries to the accident, and estimate your total damages.
- Expert testimonies. In complex cases, expert witnesses may be crucial to establish negligence. We maintain a network of professionals who can provide expert testimonies when necessary, such as accident reconstruction specialists or building safety experts, to assess and testify about the safety standards and conditions of the premises.
How to Seek Compensation for Your Injuries?
Experiencing a slip and fall accident can be a distressing and painful ordeal. However, taking the right steps after such an incident is crucial to protect your well-being and legal rights.
- Report the incident. As soon as the slip and fall occurs, report it to the property owner, manager, or an employee. Ensure that an official record of the incident is created. This documentation can be vital in your case.
- Seek immediate medical care. Even if your injuries seem minor, consult a healthcare professional. Sometimes, the severity of injuries isn’t immediately apparent, and a medical evaluation can link your injuries to the accident.
- Document the scene. If possible, take photographs or videos of the accident’s location. Capture any hazardous conditions, such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poor lighting. This visual evidence can be invaluable in proving negligence.
- Collect witness statements. If there are witnesses to your slip and fall, ask for their contact information and statements about what they observed. Witness testimonies can corroborate your account of the incident.
- Preserve evidence. Store your clothing and shoes from the day of the accident, as they may contain important evidence, such as debris or substances that caused your fall.
Protect Your Rights After a Minor Slip and Fall Accident
Don’t underestimate the impact of your minor slip and fall. From physical injuries to long-term consequences and psychological trauma, the aftermath can be significant. Our experienced attorneys specialize in slip and fall cases and are dedicated to helping you get a fair payout for your injuries.
To secure the compensation you deserve, contact Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. Minor slips and falls can cause major problems, and we’re here to ensure you don’t have to face them alone.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.