Omaha Slip and Fall Attorney
Slip and fall accidents often result in injuries. These accidents are particularly dangerous for older people because the recovery time may be longer and additional medical complications can arise. But you can suffer from a serious slip and fall accident at any age.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else's property, you may be eligible for compensation. Property owners have a responsibility to remove hazards that may harm others.
If your injuries are the result of another person’s negligence, they should be held accountable for your medical bills. To learn more, talk to an experienced Omaha premises liability lawyer at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. by calling (402) 505-8234 today.
The term slip and fall describes what happens when a person trips or falls on someone else’s property. This may occur at a business such as a store, on a street or sidewalk, in an apartment building, at work, at a construction site, or at a private residence. Common slip and fall situations include slipping on a wet floor in a supermarket, falling down poorly maintained stairs, and slipping on an icy sidewalk.
Slip and fall accidents 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. That means eliminating slip and fall hazards such as debris in a stairwell.
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
- Stairs that don’t comply with building codes
- Loose gravel or dirt
- Cracked or uneven sidewalks
The winters in Nebraska and Iowa can be particularly treacherous. Here in Omaha, icy and snowy sidewalks create a hazard for pedestrians. Parking lots can be treacherous for people getting in and out of vehicles, as areas around cars may be slushy or icy. The entrances to stores and businesses can also become wet and slippery from tracked-in snow.
Injuries in a slip-and-fall accident usually occur when a person hits the ground, injuring their head, bruising their body, or breaking bones. 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 children and older people.
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) reports that falls are the 12th leading cause of death and the 13th leading cause of permanent disabilities among children worldwide. A single fall can forever change a child’s future, adding hefty medical bills over the course of their lifetime 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 older person slips on a wet floor and strikes their head, the blow could be fatal. In these cases, there is the potential for catastrophic spinal damage, paralysis, serious fractures, and long-term brain damage. Hospitals have reported more than $250 million in costs to Nebraska patients due to falls, which includes out-of-pocket expenses and insurance.
Some of the most common slip and fall injuries include:
- Broken bones result from hard impact with the ground, or from an attempt to catch oneself after slipping. Broken bones cause pain and may result in long recovery periods and substantial medical expenses. A hip fracture may immobilize an older patient for life.
- Internal trauma from striking hard surfaces or nearby objects may cause significant medical issues.
- Neck and spinal injuries are especially likely if a person lands on their back. Thirty-two percent 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.
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to striking the head or face in a fall is often 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 may cause cognitive problems for the rest of a person's life.
Determining whether someone else is liable for injuries from your slip and fall comes down to determining negligence, and whether another person’s careless actions caused the accident. Negligence occurs when a property or business owner knew (or should have known) about a potentially dangerous situation but failed to act in a reasonable way to fix the problem. For example, if a property owner does not replace a burnt-out light in a stairway, they 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
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.
Pursuing compensation for a slip and fall accident is not as simple as stating that you fell in a store and the property owner should pay for your trauma. Your personal injury lawyer will need to file an accident report, collect witness statements, acquire evidence of wrongdoing, and negotiate with the property’s owner’s insurance company. If they refuse to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer may have to take them to court.
Your first thought after suffering a slip-and-fall is probably how you are going to deal with your medical bills. Many people cannot afford the costs of an emergency room visit. You will want to follow through on all your treatment so you can make a full recovery. Make sure to save all your records so you can share them with your attorney. Costs of your injury may include:
- Emergency room treatment
- All doctor’s office visits
- Ambulance transport
- Lost wages
- Physical therapy
- Loss of future income
- Reduced quality of life
- Physical and emotional suffering.
At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., our slip and fall injury attorneys have years of experience representing our neighbors in Omaha in a variety of personal injury matters. We know how to take on the big insurance companies and win. Give us a call today at (402) 505-8234 to schedule a FREE consultation. We’re on your side.
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