Slip and falls accidents are no laughing matter. They’re actually the leading cause of injury death among Floridians aged 64 years and older.
In addition, according to the Florida Department of Health’s Accident Prevention Program, unintentional falls are the fourth leading cause of death overall among all age groups. Every year, more than 65,000 Floridians are fatally injured in a fall, while an additional 65,000+ are hospitalized for one.
What are the most common reasons for slip and fall accidents?
All of these reasons have one thing in common—slippery or poorly lit or marked surfaces.
These can include uneven surfaces that aren’t marked as such, or poorly lit slight step ups to another level, such as in a restaurant. Recently mopped and waxed floors are another common culprit, as are grease spots in parking lots, spilled liquids in grocery stores, or even rain on a street or sidewalk after a dry spell.
Many slip and fall injuries can be prevented. For instance, hand rails on stairs or inclines can drastically reduce mishaps. Better lighting overall and directional lighting that clearly defines stairs, repairing potholes in parking lots, and putting non-slip pads under rugs are all easy ways to prevent injury.
So, what should you be aware of when you’re out and about?
Sometimes, potential hazards are easy to spot and sometimes they’re not. Look for the following and take extra care when navigating around them:
- Power cords that cross walkways
- Open desk or cabinet drawers
- Loose debris on the floor
- Boxes or other stored items that impede traffic patterns
- Transitions from different floor types, such as from wood to carpet
- Uneven surfaces or frayed carpeting
- Loose floorboards or wood with decayed areas
- Spilled liquids
What can you do to help avoid a slip and fall injury?
Most of these are common sense rules of thumb. For instance, slow down—even if you’re in a hurry, it’s not worth the risk to take more than one stair at a time, or rush through a dark hallway. If no handrail is available on stairs, take an elevator if one is nearby. Never use a chair for a ladder, and likewise, never use a ladder without someone holding it for you. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to remedy a dark hallway, alley or parking lot is to use the flashlight feature on your smart phone to illuminate the way.
You can also be extra diligent in those places where slip and fall accidents are most likely to occur. These include construction zones, stationary or moving sidewalks and escalators, pool decks, bars and restaurants, grocery stores, curbs, public restrooms, and shopping malls.
What should you do if you suffer a slip and fall accident?
Just as every individual is different, so is every slip and fall accident.
- First and foremost, call 9-1-1 if you fear your injury is serious.
- Use your phone to take pictures of the conditions leading to the accident and take down names and contact info of any witnesses.
- Make sure the establishment knows you’ve had a fall and that you fear you are injured.
Our personal injury attorneys at Haddad & Associates can help you recover money from the negligent party to pay for injury related medical bills and seek compensation for your pain and suffering. Consultations are always free, and we’re available to help you 24/7, 365 days a year.