The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 2.8 million Americans require emergency room treatment for fall accidents each year.
These accidents can cause tremendous physical, emotional and financial damage for victims. In fact, the CDC reports that fall injuries lead to more than $31 billion a year in direct medical costs.
Many slip and fall accidents occur because a person slips or trips on a floor or other surface. In fact, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) found that slip and fall accidents are responsible for nearly one million annual emergency room visits.
While some slip and fall accidents are truly unavoidable, the majority of them are entirely preventable. Sadly, many Chicago area property owners fail to take proper precautions to protect invited guests.
A business or property owner’s failure to adequately protect guests is negligence. Victims of negligence can take legal action to recover compensation for their damages in the form of a premises liability claim.
Slip and fall accidents are common, unfortunately, because the acts of negligence that cause them are common. Four causes in particular are:
The NFSI reports that more than 56 percent of all slip and fall accidents occur because of a wet floor or an uneven surface. Property owners in Illinois must take proactive steps to reduce or eliminate the risks caused by these hazards.
For example, if a floor is dangerously slippery, property owners should either take action to dry the floor or should mark off the area to warn passersby. Similarly, if an uneven surface presents an unreasonable danger, property owners must take immediate action to repair and transform it into a safer surface.
If Chicago is known for anything, it is it’s harsh winters. The city regularly experiences winter weather conditions for as many as six months each year. These conditions can create some very dangerous situations.
Property owners have a legal obligation to remove snow and ice from areas of their property where people commonly walk. Although snow and ice are naturally occurring elements, this does not remove the owner’s legal obligations.
The simple fact is that these elements can create enormous risks, and property owners have a duty to mitigate all risks on the premises.
When snow falls or standing water freezes on outdoor walking surfaces, property owners must spring into action. They must do what they can to reduce or eliminate the risks posed by winter weather conditions.
Many slip and fall accidents occur not because something was wrong with the walking surface but rather due to dark conditions within a building. This is an issue in many Chicago-area buildings.
Often, the problem is found in stairwells. One broken light in a stairwell can dramatically reduce visibility. Further, if someone trips or slips in a dark stairwell, the consequences can be truly catastrophic.
Property owners must quickly repair all broken lights. Sadly, many Chicago property owners fail to do so, leading to many preventable trip and fall accidents.
Another common cause of slip and fall accidents is poor workplace conditions. Falls are major problem at job sites in our region.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workplace falls are an especially alarming issue in the manufacturing sector. In fact, NIOSH reports that workplace falls are the third leading cause of on-the-job deaths for these manufacturing employees.
The root cause of workplace falls can vary considerably. In some cases, it is simply a matter of inadequate training. A manager puts an employee in a relatively risky situation that he or she is simply not ready to handle.
In other cases, employees are forced into conditions on the jobsite that are simply too dangerous for anyone.
Of course, workplace slip and falls can occur in any occupation. In fact, the Department of Labor reports that many work-related slip and fall accidents occur on normal walking surfaces.
Slip and fall accidents can lead to very serious injuries. Not only are falls incredibly common, but they are also dangerous. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) has found that falls are actually the third leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
Only automobile accidents and drug overdose accidents lead to more annual fatalities. Slip and fall accidents also lead to many very serious injuries, including:
If your slip and fall accident occurred because of the negligence of a property owner, you have the right to seek compensation for the full extent of your losses, including:
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you should contact an attorney immediately. At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our attorneys have extensive experience handling Illinois premises liability claims, including slip and fall accidents. If you or someone close to you was seriously injured in a fall accident, please contact our office today. We will review your claim for free.