Articles Posted in Slip & Falls

a0b7bf6eb8febc2d57f7769bd6b44b66-1-300x260Slips, trips, and falls are some of the most common types of injury and account for over 1 million ER visits each year in the U.S.  Though most falls are minor and result in a bump or bruise, 1 in 5 falls causes a serious injury like a broken bone or head injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Falls are the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths for all ages and the number one cause for those ages 65 and older. Slips, trips, and falls can happen at home, at work, at the grocery store, or simply walking down the street. Slip and fall accidents can be particularly serious to the elderly. Falls are also mostly preventable. Rhode Island property and business owners alike are obligated to maintain safe conditions for those who are expected to come upon their property and make repairs in a timely manner. As individuals, we must hold ourselves accountable by being aware of our surroundings and avoiding unnecessary distractions that can result in a fall, like looking down at a cell phone while walking. In light of June being National Safety Month, the Providence slip and fall lawyers at Tapalian Law would like to share with you some tips to eliminate common tripping hazards and reduce injuries from a slip and fall.

Distracted Walking

Cell phones have made it easy for us to stay in contact with work, friends, and family 24/7 but they are also a major cause of slip and fall accidents. Falls are frequently the consequence of inattention or a distraction, like looking down to use a cell phone. This is known as distracted walking. Like distracted driving, distracted walking can cause injury, both minor and severe. Looking down at a cell phone while walking can cause a crash into another person, a trip down a flight of stairs, a fall off a sidewalk, or worse. Distracted walking can cause a person to unknowingly walk into traffic or take a serious fall, resulting in severe injuries or a fatality.  If you must use a cell phone while walking, stop in a safe spot out of the way of other pedestrians and vehicles to make your call or send your text to avoid an injury due to distracted walking.

wet-floor-225x300Falls are the most common reason for emergency room visits in the U.S. each year. This type of accident accounts for 1 million ER visits yearly. A slip and fall can happen anyplace, in a residential setting or a commercial setting. Falls frequently take place at a grocery store, big box store, hotels, and in the work place.  A slip and fall can be caused by a neglected spill on the grocery store floor, a broken step or faulty hand-railing at a restaurant, a slippery pool deck on a cruise ship, and a myriad of other causes. None of us set out on our day expecting an accident but slip and falls are very common and one of the most frequent types of personal injury lawsuit. As Rhode Island slip and fall attorneys at Tapalian Law, we see people injured in slip and fall accidents on a regular basis. Injuries from a fall can range from a minor or severe injury and can be fatal. Slip and fall accidents can also be very expensive. Walmart was hit with a $7.5 million lawsuit from a 2015 slip and fall accident that took place in one of their Alabama stores.  If you or someone you love have been injured in a fall, slip and fall injury lawyer David Tapalian can help you determine if you are eligible for compensation.

Common Injuries from Slip & Fall Accidents

Injuries from a slip and fall can range from very minor, a bump or bruise, but can also be quite serious or fatal. In fact, half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).  Injuries are habitually more severe in the elderly. Fractures are a very common fall injury and can be grave. Other fall related injuries are sprains, torn ligaments, head, back, neck, and shoulder injuries, brain injury, concussions, and spinal cord injuries. Falls make up 87% of fractures seen among those over the age of 65 and are the second leading cause of spinal cord and brain injury. Check out a previous Tapalian Law injury blog for potential slip and fall hazards and how to prevent them.

photo_1595_20060522-200x300An Alabama jury recently awarded $7.5 million to an Army veteran after breaking his hip at a Walmart store. The incident took place in 2015 when the retired sergeant was shopping in an Alabama Walmart and his foot got stuck in the side of a wooden pallet under a watermelon display. This led him to fall and shatter his hip, an injury that permanently changed his life, according to his injury attorney. His lawyer filed a premises liability lawsuit arguing that Walmart neglected to keep its premises reasonably safe thereby resulting in his client’s life-altering injuries. Walmart was sued for negligence and wantonness and lost but said it plans to appeal the $7.5 million decision. At Tapalian Law, our Providence personal injury law firm has helped clients seek compensation for accidents and injuries they have incurred on another person’s, or businesses’, property.

What is Premises Liability?

Legally speaking, premises liability holds property owners and residents liable for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. This could be a homeowner’s or business owner’s property. When someone comes onto your property, they have a “reasonable expectation” of not getting injured. Just as drivers are required to operate their motor vehicle with a “duty of care” to avoid injuring others in a car accident, many states including Rhode Island require property owners to exercise “reasonable care” in maintaining their property for those who may come upon the property such as an invited guest or delivery person. At a business such as a restaurant, owners expect patrons on their property to conduct business and therefore need to keep the property in proper, safe, working condition. If an owner breaches this duty of care, they may be held liable for the injuries that occurred on their property, such as a slip and fall, that took place due to the owner’s failure to fix a dangerous condition on the property that they knew about, or should have known about. The slip and fall attorney’s at Tapalian Law have helped clients who have been hurt in a premises liability accident in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

wet-floor-3-300x225It’s not often that we take the time to look down when we’re walking down the sidewalk, in a parking lot, or into our local big box store. After all, Rhode Islanders are busy people, why would we bother looking at the ground when we’ve got so much to do? Well, you may re-think this next time you’re headed out to the store. A recent report by CNA, an insurance and risk management services provider for businesses and professionals worldwide, revealed that half of all flooring they surveyed at test sites does not meet the minimum threshold for adequate friction. Simply put, the flooring being used in many places of business is not as safe and slip-proof as it should be. Ironically, most large businesses have fall prevention programs in place to combat slip and fall accidents and prevent injuries in their businesses, such as maintenance staff to mop up spills quickly, but often fail to address the actual flooring surface selection. The personal injury attorneys at Providence-based Tapalian Law have helped clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts who have been hurt in a slip and fall accident.

Where Do Slip & Fall Accidents Occur the Most?

According to the CNA study of slip and fall liability claims occurring from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2016, retail and real estate businesses present the greatest potential for slip and fall accidents. Injuries occurred most often at these sites:

file371243652775-300x200The U.S. restaurant industry is a booming business, including in Rhode Island, and employs about 10% of the overall workforce. Given its large size and number of staff, it’s no surprise that workplace injuries are a common, and inevitable occurrence. Cuts, burns, and slip & falls are common injuries for those employed in restaurants. As Rhode Island personal injury attorneys, Tapalian Law has assisted many clients injured in the workplace with their workers compensation claims. Fortunately, the bulk of restaurant injuries and accidents, though common, are of low severity and only require minor medical care. However, more severe injuries can prove to be very costly, not only monetarily, but also physically and mentally, to the injured. A serious workplace injury will often include multitudes of medical bills, hospital expenses, and wages lost from time out of work.

Why Are Restaurant Employee Injuries So Prevalent?

Anyone who has worked in the Rhode Island restaurant industry knows how fast-paced it is. Whether working as a server or bartender, or in the kitchen, potential harm lurks everywhere. Common worker injuries in the kitchen are burns, especially in restaurants where food is fried. Hot fryer oil can cause second and third degree burns resulting in permanent injury needing extensive care. Not only can hot oil splash while cooking, but spilled oil is slippery and can lead to slip & falls. Slip & falls, sprains, and strains from heavy lifting of boxes or deliveries, can be quite serious and require a long rehabilitation process and physical therapy. As any restaurant employee knows, food prep is a daily task and slicing, dicing, and cutting by both kitchen staff and servers constitutes a great number of kitchen-related mishaps as well. Cuts can be minor but if deep or infected, can quickly become grave.  Although only 2 percent of restaurant workplace injuries are considered severe, according to the National Restaurant Association these cases can incur workers compensation claims of $100,000 or more. Incidentally, California has a much higher rate of serious restaurant workplace injuries than average, 31% of accidents are severe, according to a 2015 Workers Compensation Best Practices Report.

Your child is at the home of a classmate for a birthday party. During the party, you receive a phone call from the classmate’s parent- your son or daughter fell down some steps and cut their chin open and may need stitches. As you drive your upset child to the emergency room, you wonder- how did this happen? Where were the parents? What type of steps dida0b7bf6eb8febc2d57f7769bd6b44b66-300x260 your child fall on? Were they pushed by another kid? Was anyone supervising? What kind of medical treatment will be needed and how much will it cost? Will it be covered by my insurance plan? These are all valid questions and after an injury, they are all questions that you need answers to. The Providence personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law, can help you in getting answers to your questions after you, or your child, has suffered from a personal injury that incurred on the premises of another, whether it be a homeowner or business. This is known as premises liability.

Types of Premises Liability

Premises liability, a type of personal injury case, most commonly occurs as a slip & fall. A slip & fall may be due to an icy sidewalk, poor lighting, cracked sidewalk concrete, or improperly maintained steps, among other factors. Slip & falls most often occur in restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, sidewalks, driveways, and entry ways. It may be a spill left on the floor of a grocery store, or it could be a broken step leading to the entryway of a restaurant. Slip & falls, or trip & falls, can take place in a commercial setting, or a residential setting.

What started out as a fun, children’s Easter egg hunt has turned into a $112K lawsuit. An Oregon mom is suing for negligence after an allegedly overcrowded Easter egg hunt caused her to suffer serious injuries. Rachel Townsend filed a lawsuit, along with her personal injury attorney, stating that as the egg hunt began, the overcrowded field was rushed with people causing her to be pushed from behind and knocked to the ground causing her injuries. If you have experienced a similar incident where you received injuries due to the neglect of another in Rhode Island, you are urged to contact a RI personal injury law firm like Tapalian Law to find out your rights to sue for negligence.

Negligence Laws in Rhode Island

A Rhode Island lawyer might define “negligent” as “to act in a way that a similar “reasonable person” would not, resulting in another’s personal injury”. An “injury” may be physical injuries, the loss or damage of property, emotional distress, and other losses that result from the negligence. To owe someone a duty of care depends on multiple factors depending on the situation. There are also different types of negligence. For example, driver negligence, such as texting while driving, can rfile0001097532734-300x225esult in a car accident. In this particular case, the defendants were allegedly negligent by failing to provide adequate staffing to run the Easter egg hunt in a safe way. Due to the negligence of the companies, the plaintiff Townsend is suing for $100,000 in non-economic damage as well as $12,411 in medical expenses and lost wages. The injuries she incurred in the fall are a torn meniscus and partially torn ligaments in her left knee. She also suffered sprains and strains and the inability to work and carry out normal, daily activities.  Her lawsuit claims that both the venue where the egg hunt happened, as well as the event planning company who hosted the event, are negligent.

What started out as a routine weekly dinner among three sisters sadly turned deadly this past Friday in Barrington, Rhode Island. Elderly sisters, 97-year-old twins Jean Haley and Martha Williams, and younger sister 89-year-old Mary Jacobs returned from dinner to Haley’s RI home arfile0001182397099-300x225ound 8:30pm amidst chilling windy conditions. It appears that both twins, in separate incidents, slipped and fell, and were unable to get up and call for help. Slip and fall accidents can be extremely hazardous, if not deadly, especially for the elderly. Tapalian Law is well versed in the tragedy that can become of slip and falls, whether it be serious personal injury from broken bones or head injuries, or a slip and fall that can have deadly results.

Barrington Police Piece Together Details

The extent of the two sister’s injuries due to their falls is not yet detailed, and because neither could get up and call for assistance after the fall, both lay outside overnight in freezing temperatures causing them to both die of hypothermia. According to Barrington Police Chief John LaCross, the RI sisters returned home from dinner dropping off younger sister Mary Jacobs at her vehicle, which was parked in Haley’s driveway. Jacobs then drove off. Haley allegedly then dropped off Williams at her vehicle before pulling into her garage. It is unclear exactly what happened next but Barrington Police surmise that Williams fell while attempting to get into her car. They believe that Haley saw this fall occur and proceeded to exit her vehicle to help her sister. At this point, Haley also fell. The injuries from the falls, or perhaps the pain and shock of the falls, left both sisters unable to get up and get help. Sadly, they both lay on the ground overnight eventually succumbing to hypothermia.

The most common cause of injury seen in emergency rooms in the United States, falls can occur at any age. Though many falls are harmless, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 falls causes a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury. It is estimated that around 7.9 million emergency room visits a year are due to falls. Injuries caused by a fall can be detrimental to anyone, especially the elderly. And once a fall does occur, even if it does not cause an injury, it can cause a fear of falling. This fear may result in one changing their daily routine or cutting down on everyday activities to avoid another fall. However, when a person becomes excessively tentative and less active, they become weaker, which in turn increases their chances of falling and getting injured.

Who Is At Risk for a Fall?

Certainly, age is a big factor and the elderly are more prone to falls. Fall injuries requiring medical attention rise exponentially from age 18 on. There are many risk factors involved that affect both young and old alike.

HelpingSomeoneInAWheelChair-300x75

A fall can cause a traumatic brain injury or TBI, which includes concussions. Elderly people are more susceptible to falls because the ability to balance decreases with age, and they may have more difficulty walking without assistance. For this reason, falls in nursing homes are common because of the number of elderly and incapacitated patients. However, falls in nursing homes can be prevented if the staff takes reasonable measures to ensure safety.

Basic Requirements for Resident Safety

A nursing home facility should provide a safe place for residents to move around by meeting specific guidelines to prevent falls. This includes removing tripping hazards, such as rugs and electrical cords from traffic areas, as well as keeping clutter out of hallways and other walk areas.

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