The slip-and-fall scene is so common in movies and television that many people have internalized the way Hollywood presents these accidents. A person slips, maybe on a banana peel, and flies up into the air, feet up and head down. The victim comes crashing down, buttocks and ego bruised, only to get up and walk it off.
Thanks to these constant gags, many Americans could mistakenly believe that slip-and-fall accidents aren't really anything serious. After all, years of media consumption have completely desensitized most of us to the true danger that these accidents pose to the public.
When people slip-and-fall in the real world, it isn't the punchline to some cheap physical gag. It can be a serious situation. Many times, those who slip and fall sustain serious, even severe, injuries. For some people, those injuries could be a muscle strain, a twisted knee ligament or an ankle sprain. It's possible to dislocate your shoulder while trying to stop your fall. Other people sustain even more serious injuries, such as broken bones. It is relatively common for victims of slip-and-fall accidents to hit their heads on the floor as gravity pulls them down. Those head injuries can be quite severe.
Slip-and-fall accidents happen every day
Through the course of an average year, about a million Americans will seek treatment at the emergency room due to a slip-and-fall accident. These accidents can happen just about anywhere. They can happen while you're shopping at the grocery store. They happen when you're walking into work and the parking lot is icy. They happen when someone spills a coffee outside your accountant's office. It only takes a second of distraction to lose your balance on wet flooring, and your whole world could change on the way down. Your injuries could prevent you from working or reduce your quality of life.
Businesses and those who open their homes to the public generally should keep the facilities safe and clean. A big part of that obligation is quickly responding to spills, drips and leaks. Cleaning up liquids on the floor and placing signage to warn visitors is one important means of preventing slip-and-fall accidents. When businesses don't take action quickly enough, customers, workers or visitors could end up paying the price when they slip and hurt themselves. The business or property owner will then face issues related to premises liability, which is liability incurred by owning or operating a space.
Generally, premises liability means that those who manage or own a property where someone is injured are legally and financially liable for those injuries. Whether you sustained a brain injury from hitting your head or a broken bone that's keeping you from working, you shouldn't be the one paying the price if you get hurt at someone's business.