What Types of Injuries Result From Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall accidents cause a wide variety of injuries, from minor to severe and even fatalities. Some injuries may appear minor immediately after the fall, but pain or injuries may appear later. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Head injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI may be a minor concussion or a severe injury to the brain requiring long-term treatment.
- Hip fractures. Over 95 percent of hip fractures are caused by falls. Individuals who suffer from a hip fracture may need surgery, or possibly admission to a rehabilitation facility or nursing home. More than 95 percent of broken hips are suffered in falls, the CDC says. A hip fracture frequently requires surgery, followed by rehabilitation in a nursing home or other facility.
- Spinal cord and back injuries. Falling can cause fractured vertebrae or disc problems. Spinal cord injuries may lead to temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Shoulder injuries. Another frequent slip-and-fall injury is shoulder dislocation, also known as a “brachial plexus injury.” This is a painful injury and often require surgery and physical therapy.
- Sprains and fractures. People can hurt themselves so many ways in a slip and fall. The victim may fracture arms or wrists while trying to break the fall. He or she may twist a knee or ankle, tear muscles, tendons or other soft tissue.
Who Might Be Responsible for a Slip and Fall Injury in Watertown?
Watertown, like other municipalities, has ordinances that govern the use and reasonable care of a property. Massachusetts also has laws and regulations that may affect the responsibility for a slip and fall incident. One example is the law on snow removal. These laws apply to property owners and governmental agencies. So, determining responsibility can be complicated. Legal theories that may apply to slip and fall cases include:
- Negligence – This is the failure to exercise reasonable care. It may not be intentional, but if you were injured as a result of the negligent act, you might be entitled to damages.
- Strict liability – This generally applies to accidents, including falls, which involve dangerous products and defective prescription drugs. It is also known as absolute liability.
- Comparative negligence – Under this doctrine, if you were partly at fault in the accident, you might still seek compensation. However, your damages may be reduced according to the amount of fault.
- Intentional and reckless misconduct – In these cases, punitive damages may be awarded – not to compensate the victim but, instead, to punish and deter the defendant.
What Kinds of Damages Can You Recover for Slip and Fall Accident Injury?
If someone is injured in a slip and fall accident, they may recover damages related to their injuries that seek to make them “whole” – or as close to it as possible. Commonly awarded damages include:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance, emergency treatment, hospital stays, medical tests and ongoing doctor visits
- Rehabilitation costs, including physical and occupational therapy and assistive devices such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs
- Future medical expenses for permanent or long-term disabilities
- Lost wages for missed work
- Loss of earning capacity in the event of a permanent disability if the victim is unable to return to his or her previous job
- Pain and suffering such as physical and emotional pain.
How Do Property Owners Try to Avoid Paying?
When property owners and their insurance carriers are faced with a lawsuit because of a slip and fall accident, they will do what they can to avoid paying out a claim. One common strategy is shifting fault to the victim.
Massachusetts is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that the court assigns a percentage of negligence to each party in the suit. If the court finds the claimant to be partially at fault for his or her own injury, they will reduce damages. If the claimant is 50 percent or more at fault, Massachusetts law bars the claimant from recovering damages. Modified comparative negligence motivates property owners to shift the blame, most likely by using one of the following defenses:
- The victim was not exercising reasonable care
- The property owner took reasonable precautions to prevent an accident
- The hazard should have been obvious to any reasonable person
- The victim didn’t obey the posted warnings
- The victim was trespassing.
It is important to work with a lawyer such as Michael D. Kelly who will fight for you and challenge any attempts to place undue blame on you.
Get Help from a Watertown, MA Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Today
At Kelly & Associates, slip and fall cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. That means the fee depends on the outcome of the case. If you do not receive compensation through a court verdict or a negotiated settlement, you do not owe a fee. If you do receive compensation, we will be paid a portion of the amount obtained on your behalf.
Watertown is a great place to live, but slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere. You could be walking through the Watertown Mall, slip on damaged or hazardous flooring and suffer serious injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of a slip and fall accident, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney without delay. For a free consultation, please contact us. We will fight for your rights.