Oftentimes slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are not treated very seriously – funny videos circulate on the internet and on television, and everyone can recall an incident where they fell and the worst injury they suffered was a damaged ego. But for many people, the injuries sustained in slip and falls can be very serious and have lifelong effects. Let our Virginia slip and fall attorneys help if that’s the case.
Slip and Fall Injuries
The Centers for Disease Control report that slip and fall accidents are the main cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the United States, causing approximately 40% of the brain injuries that occur annually. In addition, nearly 9 million people visit a hospital emergency room every year because of slip and fall injuries, and slip and fall injuries are among the most common reasons for emergency department visits. The injuries that occur from falls can vary widely, from TBI to broken and fractured bones, and spine and spinal cord injuries to herniated discs. Even worse, falls are among the leading causes of accidental deaths annually.
Slip and Fall Claims
An injured party may have a claim for injuries suffered in a fall if the property owner is aware of a danger, or should be aware of a danger, but fails to take reasonable steps to remove the danger. This often occurs when the owner or operator of the property creates the dangerous condition in question. In addition, an injured party may have a claim for injuries if the property owner or other party failed to warn visitors of known dangers or defects with the property. The owner does not have a duty to warn of dangers that are “open and obvious” to a visitor.
Parties other than property owners, such as tenants, maintenance companies, and property managers may also be responsible for keeping property in a safe condition.
Common Causes of Slips and Falls
Slip and fall accidents can have a number of causes. Common causes of slip and fall events are icy, oily, or wet walking areas, sidewalks and parking lots, spilled liquids and food in grocery stores and restaurants, uneven steps and surfaces, building code violations, slippery or loose steps on stairways, collapsing floors and decks, poor lighting, dangerous workplaces and industrial settings, falling products and merchandise from retail stores, and other obstacles and defects that pose dangers to unsuspecting visitors.
Defenses in Slip and Fall Cases
Property owners, managers, and other parties that create or are responsible for dangers on property are usually represented by insurance companies, and those insurance companies often rely on a number of defenses to avoid having to pay for injuries suffered in a slip and fall accident. The insurance company will likely contend that the injured visitor knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, the visitor exceeded the scope of the invitation to the property, or the visitor went to a portion of the property that he or she was not reasonably expected to visit.
Insurance companies will also likely raise two legal defenses that are commonly used in Virginia – assumption of the risk and contributory negligence. In a nutshell, contributory negligence occurs when a person fails to take steps that a reasonable person would take under the circumstances to protect themselves. Assumption of the risk, on the other hand, occurs when someone knows and appreciates a risk or danger, but is then injured when he or she exposes themself to the danger. If a jury finds that either defense applies, the injured party will be barred from recovering any money.
MartinWren, P.C.’s Virginia Slip and Fall attorneys have extensive experience pursuing compensation for individuals who have been injured on someone’s property due to the negligence or fault of the owner or another party. If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall accident, please contact Jonathan T. Wren at (434) 817-3100 or Kirk D. Becchi at (540) 437-1243. Our attorneys can also be reached, toll free, at 855-812-9220.
You will not owe any legal fees unless we recover money for you.