Omaha Slip and Fall Attorney
Slip-and-falls are among the most common types of accidents that result in injuries. These accidents are all the more hazardous because they can happen just about anywhere. While falls from a height, such as from a ladder, might be more dangerous, even simple slip-and-falls can result in serious injuries. These accidents are particularly dangerous for the elderly, since recovery time is longer and additional complications often arise afterward.
Premises Liability Services
If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else's property, you may deserve compensation, even if you initially feel like it was your fault. If those injuries were caused by someone’s negligence, then you may be able to hold him or her liable and gain compensation for your medical expenses and more. Call an Omaha premises liability lawyer at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 999-0234. Tell us about what happened and we can talk about the best way to move forward.
The term "slip and fall" refers to any kind of falling injury that happens while a person is on the ground. This is in contrast to something like falling from a ladder or from a worksite scaffold (which are also personal injury situations). Common slip-and-fall situations include slipping on a wet floor in a store, falling down poorly maintained stairs, and slipping on an icy sidewalk.
Slip-and-falls happen in a wide range of situations and settings. When you enter a store, office building, or hotel, you assume that the owner or building manager has fulfilled basic safety requirements. While most people think of fire alarms and emergency exits, property owners are also responsible for cleaning up slip-and-fall hazards.
Construction sites already top the list of "most dangerous places to work." There are numerous opportunities for falling in these settings - down stairs, off of ladders, and even due to tripping over tools and substances left on the ground.
Falling down, whether down a flight of stairs, against hard pavement, or into nearby furniture or vegetation, presents you with numerous chances for serious injuries. Businesses must ensure that walkways in stores and other locations are kept clear of tripping hazards and provide handrails and adequate lighting around all stairs. Failure to provide these basic safety standards can make a business owner liable if a guest, visitor, or tenant suffers a serious injury.
Common causes of slip-and-fall accidents in Omaha include:
- Wet floors
- Icy and snow-covered walkways
- Loose carpet
- Poorly lit stairwells
- Out-of-code steps
- Loose gravel or dirt
- Cracked sidewalks
The winters in Nebraska and Iowa can be particularly treacherous. Here in Omaha, the city’s Public Works Department must work round the clock to clear our streets and sidewalks, given the great danger icy and snowy sidewalks create for pedestrians. Parking lots can be quite treacherous for people getting into and out of vehicles, as areas around cars may be slushy or icy. The entrances to stores and businesses can also become wet from tracked-in snow, which creates additional dangers for slipping.
While the city is responsibility for clearing all public roads and sidewalks, business owners should also report dangerous conditions as soon as possible, such as a snow-packed parking lot or icy entranceway. Until the city can schedule a clean-up, businesses must place warning signs around dangerous areas and clear away what they safely can to prevent potential injuries. They should also keep an eye out for black ice in parking lots and any other unsafe weather conditions that threaten customers. If not, they may be found liable if a guest is serious injured.
Injuries in a slip-and-fall accident usually occur when a person hits the ground, and the parts of the body that hit the ground tend to determine the injuries. Striking other objects, like the railing of a stairway, can cause additional harm. While anyone can suffer a serious injury in a slip-and-fall, falls are especially dangerous for the young and old.
We like to think that children can get up from most injuries with only a few bruises, but the CDC reports that falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits for children under the age of 18. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also reported that falls are the 12th leading cause of death and the 13th leading cause of permanent disabilities among children. A single fall can forever change a child’s future, adding hefty medical bills over the course of their life as well as needless pain and suffering.
An estimated 27% of adults older than 65 have reported suffering a fall in Nebraska, according to the CDC, which can be deadly for the elderly. If an old woman slips on a wet floor and strikes her head, the blow could be fatal. Even for survivors, there is the potential for catastrophic spinal damage, paralysis, serious fractures, and long-term brain damage. In addition, Nebraska hospitals have reported more than $250 million in costs to Nebraska patients due to falls, which includes out-of-pocket expenses and insurance. At the end of the day, a slip-and-fall is no laughing matter, and fall victims should take their situations very seriously.
Some of the most common injuries include:
- Broken bones happen because of hard impact with the ground, or from an attempt to catch oneself after slipping. While broken bones may seem fairly minor, they still cause pain and result in medical expenses. For the elderly, a single hip fracture can immobilize them for the rest of their life.
- Internal trauma from striking hard surfaces or nearby objects
- Neck and spinal injuries are especially likely if a person lands on their back. 32% of spinal cord injuries are due to falls, according to the National Spinal Cord Statistic Center, and these injuries often result in in life-long pain and paralysis.
- Brain damage due to striking the head or face in a fall is often incredibly serious. An estimated 81% of senior brain injuries and 48% of brain injuries that require emergency room treatment are the result of falls, according to the CDC. Traumatic brain injuries can have cognitive consequences for the rest of a person's life.
Determining whether someone else is liable for injuries from your slip-and-fall comes down to negligence, and whether that negligence caused the accident. Negligence occurs when a property or business owner knew (or should have known) about a potentially dangerous situation, but fails to act in a reasonable way to fix the situation. For example, if a property owner does not replace a burnt-out light in a stairway, he may be held financially responsible when someone falls down those unlit stairs.
Property owners in Omaha are expected to take basic safety steps to prevent injuries to guests and visitors. This includes:
- Using mats near entrances
- Frequently mopping tracked-in snow, mud, and water
- Salting icy sidewalks
- Providing adequate lighting around a business
- Repairing handrails along staircases
- Properly lighting staircases
- Placing warning signs near wet floors
- Fixing overturned or loose carpet
- Sweeping up loose gravel
- Repairing damaged steps
All of these steps can all help prevent injuries and are easy to fulfill if a business owner is mindful of their responsibilities. However, either due to carelessness or greed, owners often neglect these basic steps. If a business owner fails to take these kinds of steps to protect people from hazards, he or she may be liable for an injured person’s medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Your first thought after suffering a slip-and-fall is how you are going to deal with your medical bills. Most people nowadays cannot bear the costs of an emergency room visit. However, if your injuries were caused by a negligent property owner, then you are within your rights to demand compensation. You should always follow through on your treatment so that you make a full recovery and should file away all of your medical costs and records to discuss with your attorney. Not only can you include your emergency room visit in a claim, but also any medication, physical therapy, and surgeries you require after your fall.
An important part of recovering from a fall is taking time off of work to rest. You may be concerned about missing out on much-needed paychecks, but these losses can be included in your claim as well. The state of Nebraska allows accident victims to include lost wages, as well as lost earning capacity, in a slip-and-fall claim. If you need to take time off to see your doctor or simply need to decrease your work hours because of your injuries, then all of this can be included in your claim.
Lastly, you deserve compensation for your physical and emotional suffering. Any fall can cause a serious injury that makes it difficult for you to move, sleep, or sit without feeling sharp pain. In addition, if you were caused additional stress due to your injuries, such as being unable to enjoy certain activities or spend time with your family, these costs can also be included in your claim.
In total, a slip-and-fall claim can include:
- Medical bills, both past and future
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Pursuing compensation for a slip-and-fall is not as simple as stating that you fell in a store and the property owner should pay for your trauma. You need to file an accident report, collect witness statements, acquire evidence of wrongdoing, and negotiate with the property’s owner’s insurance company all while recovering from your injuries. Instead of tackling all of this on your own, reach out to the team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C.
Our Omaha premises liability attorneys can review your case in a free consultation and take on the full legal weight of handling your claim. We have years of experience representing our neighbors in Omaha in a variety of personal injury matters. We understand the tactics insurance companies use to deny or dismiss claims and know how to fight back. If you bring your case to us, you can trust that we will us all of our skill and knowledge to advocate for your best interest.
Slip-and-fall accidents can have serious, even deadly, consequences. Don't feel like you have to suffer in silence or that it was entirely your fault. After any slip-and-fall, call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 403-6752 to discuss your options in a free consultation.
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