While people in Miami may not have to worry about slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk, slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, including stores, restaurants and hotels. All it takes is a spill on the floor or a tear in the carpeting for a person to be injured in a slip and fall accident. Slip-and-fall injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord injuries and head injuries can be severe, so it is important to know your rights in such situations.
The statistics on falls
Slip-and-fall cases are, unfortunately, common. Over one million people are seen in the emergency room for slip and fall injuries. Slip and falls are the leading cause of lost time from work. Flooring issues are a factor in over two million fall injuries annually. Older people are more apt to fall. Each year one in every three people over 65-years-old will experience a fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that an estimated 1.8 million individuals over 65 years old need emergency care due to a fall.
What is negligence?
Some slip-and-fall accidents are simply that — accidents, and they are not the fault of anyone. However, sometimes the property owner could have done something to prevent the fall and did not. Sometimes a property owner is negligent, and you may pursue a personal injury lawsuit against them.
There are five elements that must be met to prove negligence. First, the property owner must owe you a duty of care, for example, keeping store floors dry. Second, the property owner must breach that duty, for example, by not cleaning up a known spill causing you to slip and fall. Third, the breach must cause your injury and but for your breach the injury would not have occurred. Fourth, the cause of your injury must have been foreseeable. Fifth, you must have suffered monetary damages due to the breach.
Personal injury lawsuits can be complicated. Oftentimes there are gray areas when trying to prove negligence. Fortunately, those injured in slip-and-fall accidents can seek the information they need to better understand their rights and options.