Slips and Falls Caused by Worn Carpet and Floor Boarding
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
In 2021, slip and fall accidents accounted for 33% of non-fatal injuries. While carpets and floorboards may seem harmless, they can become serious hazards when worn, uneven, or improperly maintained. If you’ve been injured due to slipping on carpets or unsafe flooring, our slip and fall attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
How Carpets and Floorboards Cause Slips or Trips and Falls
Carpets and floorboards can unexpectedly contribute to slips, trips, and falls. These accidents can occur in residential and commercial settings, such as a friend’s home, office buildings, resorts and hotels, and retail stores. Here are a few common fall scenarios in these areas:
- Bunched-up area rugs. These can easily cause trips, as they create uneven surfaces. This often happens in high-traffic areas where the rug is frequently walked over or shifted.
- Wet or polished floorboards. Often found in commercial settings, these surfaces can be extremely slippery, leading to slips. The risk is heightened in areas prone to moisture, such as near entrances or in bathrooms.
- Loose carpet edges. Over time, the edges of carpets can fray or detach from the floor, creating a tripping hazard. This is particularly dangerous on stairs or in dimly lit areas.
- Old or uneven floorboards. Wear and tear can make floorboards uneven or create protruding nails, which are trip hazards. This is common in older buildings or poorly maintained floors.
- Improperly secured carpets. Carpets improperly anchored to the floor can slide or roll up at the corners, causing trips. This issue often arises when rugs are placed on smooth surfaces like hardwood or tile.
- High thresholds between rooms. Transition strips between different flooring types can be raised too high, creating a high-trip point. This is often seen in areas where carpet meets another type of flooring.
- Damaged or curled carpet seams. Over time, the seams of a carpet can curl up or become damaged, leading to potential trips, especially in well-used areas of a home or commercial space.
- Snow or ice tracked inside. In commercial settings, snow or ice brought in on shoes can quickly melt on interior floorboards or carpets, creating slippery conditions. This can be especially hazardous if the moisture is not immediately visible, leading to unexpected slips in areas like lobbies or hallways.
- Uneven stairs or lack of handrails. Stairs that are uneven or lack proper handrails present a significant risk of falls, especially in multi-level homes or buildings. Uneven steps can cause missteps, while the absence of handrails can cause someone to lose their balance, increasing the likelihood of severe falls.
The Impact of a Slip and Fall on the Accident Victim
A slip and fall accident can be a life-altering event, causing physical, financial, and emotional consequences, including:
- Injuries. Injuries can range from bruises, minor cuts, and sprains to more severe damage, including fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and soft tissue injuries.
- Chronic pain. After a slip and fall, you may experience persistent pain and discomfort due to your injuries. Conditions like chronic pain, reduced mobility, and lingering discomfort can hinder your quality of life.
- Reduced mobility. Some slip and fall injuries, especially fractures and spinal cord damage, can lead to a loss of mobility. You may need mobility aids, such as wheelchairs or crutches, or assistance with daily tasks.
- Medical expenses. Following a slip and fall accident, you may incur substantial medical expenses. These costs include doctor’s visits, diagnostic tests, surgical procedures, medications, physical therapy, and future medical treatments.
- Loss of income. The injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents can render you incapable of working for varying periods, ranging from days to months, depending on the severity of the injuries. This can result in lost wages for the time you require off work to recover.
- Future earning capacity. Serious injuries may permanently impact your ability to perform your job or necessitate a career change. This often comes with reduced earning potential and potential retraining or educational costs. You may never regain your previous level of income or job security.
- Emotional distress. Slip and fall accidents can cause substantial emotional distress. The trauma of the incident, coupled with the pain and life changes that follow, can lead to anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Loss of enjoyment of life. You may be unable to enjoy the activities and hobbies you once loved due to your injuries. Simple pleasures like walking in the park, dancing, or playing with your children may become impossible, leading to frustration, sadness, and a diminished quality of life.
- Strained relationships. Injuries from slip and fall accidents can strain personal relationships, making it difficult for you to connect, provide support, or share moments with loved ones. Feelings of isolation and guilt can further the emotional toll of the accident on your life.
Legal Responsibilities of Property Owners
In Michigan, property owners and managers have legal responsibilities under premises liability law. These include maintaining safe walking surfaces, promptly addressing hazardous conditions like spills or icy walkways, and adequately warning visitors of potential dangers.
When a property owner, whether a homeowner or business owner, fails in their duty, they can be held liable for your damages. However, you must prove the following to receive compensation in a slip and fall claim:
- Duty of care. You need to show that the property owner has a legal obligation to ensure a safe environment. This can be demonstrated by highlighting how often property inspections were conducted, or if they were not done, and assessing whether necessary steps were taken to address identified hazards.
- Breach of duty. You must show how the property owner failed in their responsibilities. This might involve presenting photos or maintenance records showing worn carpets, broken handrails, or poorly lit areas.
- Linking the breach to the accident (Causation). You must demonstrate a direct connection between the property owner’s negligence and the incident. This could be through eyewitness testimonies, surveillance footage, or accident reports that tie the unsafe condition to your injury.
- Proof of sustained damages. You must provide evidence of the injuries or financial losses you incurred as a result of the accident. This can include medical bills, proof of lost wages, or expert testimony regarding the extent and impact of your injuries.
Your Legal Recourse After a Slip and Fall Accident
When a slip and fall occurs, it’s essential to understand your legal options and potential recourse. Victims of a fall accident have the legal right to seek compensation for their injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and other related damages.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., our slip and fall attorneys can guide you through your legal options after a slip and fall accident. These can include filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance or seeking a damage award in a personal injury lawsuit.
- Homeowners’ liability coverage. In cases that occur on residential properties, you can initiate a claim through the homeowners’ insurance policy. This coverage usually encompasses liability for accidents on the property, including medical costs and additional damages. The procedure entails notifying the insurance provider about the occurrence, presenting proof of the accident and injuries, and engaging in negotiations for a settlement.
- Commercial liability coverage. For falls on commercial properties like stores, offices, or restaurants, the claim is filed against the business’s commercial liability insurance. The claim process involves proving that the business was negligent in maintaining safe conditions, which led to the fall.
- Personal injury lawsuit damage award. If insurance coverage is inadequate or if the insurer denies the claim, the next step may be a personal injury lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit can help you recover compensation for all damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other related costs.
It involves gathering substantial evidence, such as witness statements, medical records, and expert testimony, and presenting the case in court. An attorney specializing in slip and fall cases can offer skilled representation during your lawsuit, effectively presenting your evidence to maximize the chances of a favorable outcome.
Steps to Take After Slipping and Falling on Carpet or Floor Boards
Handling the aftermath of a slip and fall on carpets or floorboards can be an overwhelming experience. Here’s a checklist for the steps you should take after a slip and fall:
- Prioritize your health. Assess your injuries and seek medical attention promptly. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, some issues may not manifest symptoms right away. Prompt medical care creates a record of your injuries, which can be vital if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
- Document the scene. Take photographs of the area, focusing on the factors contributing to the fall, such as uneven flooring, torn carpets, or inadequate lighting. Take photographs of any warning signs or the absence thereof, and document any visible injuries if present.
- Report the incident. Notify the property owner, manager, or employees about the accident. Ask them to create an incident report detailing the circumstances of your fall. Obtain a copy of this report for your records, as it can be essential if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
- Collect witness information. If there are any witnesses to your slip and fall, get their contact information. Witnesses can provide invaluable testimony regarding the conditions at the time of the incident, and their statements can support your version of events.
- Preserve physical evidence. If any physical objects or substances were involved in your fall, such as a loose tile or a slippery surface, try to preserve them as evidence. These items are vital in demonstrating negligence by the property owner.
- Do not give statements. Avoid giving statements to the property owner, their insurance company, or any other party involved without consulting your attorney. What you say can be used to reduce or deny your claim, so it’s best to have professional guidance before communicating with others about the incident.
- Consult an attorney. To safeguard your legal rights and maximize your chances of obtaining fair compensation, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we specialize in these cases and can provide invaluable insights and guidance.
How We Can Help With Your Case
When dealing with the aftermath of a slip and fall accident, the guidance of a qualified attorney can be invaluable. Here’s how an attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can assist you:
- Legal expertise. Our attorneys are well-versed in the complexities of slip and fall cases in Michigan. We can navigate the legal system, evaluate your case, and determine the best strategy for securing fair compensation.
- Investigation. We conduct thorough investigations into your incident, examining property conditions, potential property owner negligence, and your actions leading to the accident. If there have been previous incidents, complaints, or near-misses related to the same hazard, we will use them to support your claim.
- Medical documentation. We rely on comprehensive medical records, including initial assessments, diagnostic tests like X-rays and MRIs, physical therapy logs, and medical bills to substantiate your injuries.
Eileen Kroll, a registered nurse and attorney at our firm, will use her qualifications to review these records and establish a clear link between your injuries and the accident.
- Negotiation. Our skilled negotiators can engage with insurance companies and opposing parties to secure a fair settlement. This compensation covers medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Lawsuit preparation. If negotiations fail, we are ready to prepare your case for litigation. This includes filing legal documents, gathering evidence, and representing your interests in court.
- Maximizing compensation. Our goal is to help you obtain the maximum possible compensation. We will evaluate your claim and help you receive the full amount for current and future medical costs after you reach maximum medical improvement, lost income, and non-economic damages like emotional distress.
Seek a Fair Settlement With Help From Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C.
Slipping on carpets or unsafe flooring conditions can have serious consequences, from physical injuries to financial strain. Understanding your rights and the necessary steps to take after a slip and fall is crucial.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., we are dedicated to helping victims navigate the legal complexities of slip and fall cases. Our experienced attorneys are ready to advocate for your rights and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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.