Watch your step Virginia
According to CDC Injury Prevention and Control, hundreds of thousands of US citizens are hospitalized for slip and fall injuries every year. Fractures, broken bones, and head injuries are the most common types of injuries seen from slip and fall accidents. Medical costs associated with these accidents often drive victims to seek financial compensation through personal injury lawsuits. The majority of the time, these unfortunate accidents could have been prevented with proper foresight.
Here is a list of some of the most common reasons why slip and fall accidents occur:
1. Failure to Pay Attention
When a slip and fall case goes to trial in Virginia, one of the first questions typically asked is: “Were you watching where you were going?” That’s because Virginia is one of the few states in which “contributory negligence” (failure of the victim to act prudently to prevent injury) can prevent a victim from recovering any losses. If the victim says they were paying attention, then the defense argument is, “why did you not see the obvious hazard?” If the answer is “no,” the defense will blame the victim. Especially in the age of the smart phone, paying attention is an important part of injury prevention.
2. Improper Footwear
Many fashionable shoes do not provide proper traction or support and should be worn with caution. Sometimes even sneakers and work boots can wear down and lose traction over time. It is important to think ahead and wear appropriate shoes for every circumstance.
3. Wet or Waxed Floors
If a surface is shiny it is probably slippery, always approach with caution. If you are a home or business owner, think ahead to identify the best times to wash or wax your floors when there is the least chance of someone walking in the area.
4. Uneven Floors or Torn Carpets
More than just an eye sore, these issues can really trip people up and should be addressed promptly. Sometimes temporary solutions like applying duct tape to frayed carpet edges can provide a partial fix until you have a chance to fully resolve the issue.
5. Lack of Warning
Most people look ahead and not down when they are walking. As a result, it is easy to be taken by surprise on slippery or uneven surfaces. Placing a caution sign can go a long way in preventing a fall.
6. Poor Lighting
With inadequate lighting, people are not as able to avoid potential hazards that could cause a fall. Keep extra lightbulbs on hand to ensure traveled areas are well lit at all times.
Never underestimate the damage that can be caused by unnoticed clutter. Cords and wires need to be kept out of walking areas. Regular housekeeping and maintenance is essential in public spaces.
8. Stairways in Need of Repair
Over time stairs can become worn out and in need of repair. Property owners are responsible for making these repairs to prevent dangerous conditions. Be aware of rounded edges, clutter, loose handrails, and unstable materials.
9. Snow or Ice Covered Walkways
Although homeowners and business owners alike cannot prevent bad weather from creating dangerous walking conditions, they still have the duty to minimize the risk of harm for visitors. See our previous article about snow removal in Virginia for local regulations in Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Richmond and the Tri-cities area.
If you have suffered from a serious slip and fall accident and need help recovering medical expenses and lost wages, you may benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney. If you think you need a personal injury lawyer in Virginia contact us today for a free evaluation.