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On any given day, you could slip on a slick spot or catch your heel in a sidewalk crack, falling hard and hurting yourself. Slip and fall accidents are quite common and are responsible for an untold number of injuries each year. Because they are so commonplace, you may not realize what a threat they are to your health. You can slip and fall at home, at your neighbor’s house, at work or at a local business. While some of these accidents are unpreventable, many are caused by others’ negligence. If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, you need to protect yourself by seeking the right medical treatment and legal advice. Slipping and falling may not sound serious, but the results frequently are.
Even cautious people can easily fall when outdoors, often due to factors out of anyone’s control. However, property owners are expected to perform regular maintenance on their buildings and grounds, although they are not responsible for every possible hazard. No one can create a risk-free environment, but they should do everything in their power to minimize risk. Common causes of outdoor slip and fall accidents include the following:
Inclimate weather cannot be controlled, but property ownerscan control how they react after a storm. Many falls are caused by snow and ice, which is completely natural, and in general, the law doesn’t require property owners to remove these winter accumulations. There are exceptions, however. If poor property conditions cause an “unnatural” accumulation of ice and snow, the owner can be held liable. For instance, if clogged eaves cause melting ice to refreeze below, the owner may be liable for your slip and fall injuries.
Only the northern portions of Arizona are generally affected by snow, but rain in the rest of the state can lead to slip and fall accidents, particularly torrential rain such as was seen in Central Arizona this year due to Hurricane Rosa. After a long dry spell, a puddle of tracked-in water can surprise you and easily cause a fall.
Business owners have a duty to provide adequate outdoor lighting so that you can see any obstacles in your path as you go in and out of their business. You can easily trip over yard debris, sidewalk cracks or other objects that are hidden in the dark. Fixtures with missing bulbs or those that have failed completely are a serious danger. If you are injured in such a circumstance and the owner should have been aware of and corrected the hazard, a good personal injury lawyer may be able to get you compensation for your injuries.
Neglected parking lots are responsible for a number of slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. Potholes can easily form, and left unrepaired, lead to any number of falls. Cracked pavement, loose parking barriers and scattered gravel are all dangers to pedestrians who can easily slip, especially when carrying packages back to their vehicles.
While property owners are not responsible for every fall that customers or visitors may experience insidetheir buildings, they are expected to fix potential dangers in a timely manner. A hole in the carpet, a shaky banister, some cracked tile: these are all hazards, but they might have just occurred. However, if they’ve been around for some time, the property owner could be liable if you slip and/or fall as a result of these problems. Other potential causes of indoor accidents include:
- Wet floors
- Objects in the pathway
- Uneven floors
- Poor lighting
- Broken railings
- Crowded stairwells
If some interior problem could cause an accident, the property owner needs to fix it as soon as possible. Customers have a reasonable expectation of building safety.
Some slip and fall injuries do lead to legal action. A skilled personal injury attorney can advise you if you have a case. Not every injury you incur is the fault of the property owner’s. You are expected to pay attention to your surroundings and exercise reasonable care. If you are injured primarily due to your own carelessness, the owner will not be held liable.
Determining fault in these accidents can be difficult. A judge will want answers to the following type of questions: Was the flooring problem slight or severe? Was there a legitimate reason for an item to be in your path? Could it have been safely stored out of the way? Were you walking at a reasonable pace? These questions help a judge determine liability and whether you will receive compensation for your injuries.
The Schmidt Law Group
If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident in Arizona, consult the experts at Schmidt Law Group. They offer a free consultation to evaluate the merits of your case. They have years of experience in personal injury matters and will offer you an honest opinion. If they feel the property owner was at fault, they can proceed to file suit, so that you can get the compensation that you need and deserve. If you do not have a strong case, they will tell you so.
Slip and fall accidents can cause life-altering injuries, including spinal fractures, soft-tissue injuries and muscle tears and strains. You may also incur a head trauma that can lead to long-term problems such as memory loss or other cognitive issues. Slip and fall accidents are common, but they are also serious and may require extensive medical treatment and recovery time. Do not try and navigate this situation alone.
For more information, call (602) 282-0047 or request a free case evaluationonline. The Schmidt Law Firm takes your slip and fall injuries seriously and will work to get you the resources you need to recover fully.