No one wants to take a fall. It’s embarrassing to land on your butt or drop to your knees in the middle of a public place. It can be much worse than bruised pride though. A slip and fall accident injury can be life changing and in some cases fatal.
Falls are one of the most common causes of traumatic brain injury. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, report that 22% of spinal cord injuries are caused by falls. Falls cause more fractures than any other type of accident involving older adults. Common fracture injuries involve the spine, hip, arms, pelvis or hands. Thousands of people die each year because of fall related injuries.
Parking lots are a common source of slip and fall accidents caused by:
- Black ice
- Depressed areas in the asphalt that collect water and turn into an icy patch
- Slick streams of ice caused when melting snow from a roof or other elevated surface drips onto the parking lot and freezes
- Elevation changes in the parking lot surface due to broken asphalt, hidden grates or other objects
- Speed bumps
- Broken or uneven steps or ramps
- Poor lighting, either insufficient or casting shadows causing poor visibility
- Piles of ice and snow left behind or missed by snow removal or maintenance staff
Safety and the law
Under the Occupier’s Liability Act S. 3(1) states that an occupier of premises owes a duty to insure the safety of those on and entering the property.
This means that the occupier, owner or mall owner is responsible to create safe conditions and have slip and fall prevention measures in place for any visitors to the parking lot. Part of creating safe conditions would include regular property checkups and maintenance as well as systems to deal with snow and ice removal.
If the occupier knows about any hazardous conditions he has a duty of care to make repairs. For example if he knew about a broken step or a roof dripping melted snow onto the parking lot he is responsible for getting it fixed.
The occupier or mall owner must have regular maintenance procedures in place so that if a dangerous condition has been present for any extended length of time, the occupier should know about it and make amends.
Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe. They must have a system in place to ensure the safety of others when they come on to the premises. If they fail to carry out this duty of care, by neglecting to make necessary repairs or failing to anticipate and rectify potentially dangerous situations, they may be found liable for injuries caused as a result.
If a property owner has fulfilled his responsibility by setting up a system of regular check up and maintenance procedures, he may not be the person at fault for hazardous conditions. For example: if there was a stairway in question regarding safety, the property owner could have it checked by an engineer or suitably qualified personnel. If the experienced professional considered the stairway safe, then that professional could be held accountable for any injuries caused by the unsafe ramp.
Who was at fault?
If you intend to make a claim for a slip and fall accident it is necessary to prove that someone else was at fault and it was because of their actions that your were injured. As soon as possible take photos showing the injured person, where the accident occurred, weather conditions and any surrounding vehicles or buildings. Record the exact time and date the accident occurred. Get names and contact information of witnesses. Write down exactly what happened as soon as possible, while your memory is fresh and untainted by time and conversation with others. Keep records of all medical care, along with dates and doctors names.
An important step after medical care and onsite photos should be a call to your slip and fall lawyer. Do this before signing anything from the insurance company. Professional legal guidance is directly proportional to positive outcomes for personal injury insurance claims. Your lawyer is experienced with the strategies employed by insurance companies who intend to delay, deny or minimize your claim, and will guide you around common pitfalls.
There’s not a lot of time
If you are planning to file a legal suit, the procedure must be initiated within a certain time frame. For incidents occurring on city, municipal or crown property, you have 10 days only, to make application to the correct person in writing and by registered mail.
The Kahler personal injury lawyers are experienced with the types of serious injury caused by a slip or trip and fall accident. They understand the workings of the law and the strategies commonly used by insurance companies. The Kahler Personal Law Firm will assess your claim and rights to compensation and if you qualify will represent your case without charge until your case is won.