Slip and Fall Injuries
You can have a slip or trip just about anywhere, from a grocery store or restaurant to a friend’s house or neighbor’s yard. While many falls result in no injury at all, many are very serious. You may know immediately that you’ve been injured, from dizziness or immobility, or the tell-tale snap of an ACL, for example. You may however feel fine immediately after a fall, but you may still have suffered serious injury that only becomes apparent after the fact.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 3.1 million people sought emergency medical treatment in 2019 after a fall on stairs, ramps, landings, or floors, making slip and fall accidents among the top reasons for an Emergency Department visit in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 36,000 people died in the United States each year as the result of falling. It ranks third as the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. behind accidental poisoning and traffic deaths. Slips or trips can be even more dangerous for seniors. According to the CDC, both men and women over 65 are significantly more likely to die from a slip and fall injury than their younger counterparts, making it the leading cause of accidental death in that age group.
Louisiana Law & Slip Or Trip And Fall Accidents
There are a number of Louisiana statutes that can come into play in the case of a slip or trip and fall injury, each with their own rules, deadlines and processes. Two important sets of Louisiana laws to understand if you are injured are premise liability and negligence.
Louisiana premises liability law can apply when the condition or use of a property causes someone to be injured. Under this law, the owner or person responsible for a property has a duty to exercise “reasonable care.” By failing in their duty, the responsible party caused damage that could have been prevented. For example, an apartment building’s wheelchair accessible ramp that is damaged over time and not repaired in a timely manner could cause a senior resident to fall and fracture her hip. The building owner, building operator, or other third party may share liability for the senior’s injuries.
Louisiana negligence law may apply when a party fails in their duty to exercise reasonable care and creates a situation that leads to injury that could have been prevented. Similarly to premise liability, negligence law requires establishing a duty to exercise reasonable care that the responsible party failed to meet through action or inaction, and showing that the breach caused the injury and as a result of this the injured party suffered damages. For example, if grocery store workers were not trained in proper protocol for spill cleanup and a patron slipped and fell as a result of an improperly cleaned spill, the grocery store chain could potentially share liability.
What To Do If You Have A Slip And Fall Accident In Louisiana
We’ve all experienced it: slipping or tripping can feel embarrassing. Most people want to brush it off, forget it happened, and quickly move on. We blush, jump to our feet (if we can), and assure everyone, “no, no, I’m fine.” But you should pause and follow these essential steps if you’ve had a slip and fall; your health is more much important than saving face:
- 1- Seek medical care right away–even if your injuries seem minor. Your body can take time to show serious damage caused by a slip or trip. For example, feeling light-headed or dizzy after a fall could be your only initial symptom of a traumatic brain injury that could have lasting consequences for your health and quality of life. Or what feels like a deep bruise could, in fact, be a fractured hip or pelvis. A herniated disc may not show symptoms until your body’s endorphins from the accident wear off (hours or sometimes even days later). It is always best to err on the side of caution and seek treatment right away.
- 2- Document the accident. If the accident occurred at a business, ask for a written incident report. If you are with someone, ask them to get contact information for any witnesses to the accident and photos of the area around the accident. If the fall happened at a private residence, ask for the homeowner for insurance information.
- 3- Don’t make any public statements about fault or blame for the incident. You may be asked by an insurance claims adjustor or corporate designee to explain the details of the events surrounding the slip or trip and your fall. Try to limit your statements to only the facts of the event–don’t take the blame or assign any blame. For example, we tend to say things like, “I guess I should have been more careful” or “Phew, I’m clumsy” to smooth over any uncomfortable situation. Remember that insurance companies and corporations and those who represent them are going to work hard to protect their interests, and they count on most people who are injured settling for the first offer they are given. They allocate lots of money to compensate accident victims, but their job is to keep each claim as low as possible to protect their bottom line.
- 4- Speak with a trusted attorney skilled in Louisiana premise liability and personal injury law before you sign anything. You deserve the peace of mind that comes from understanding your rights and options and having a dedicated team looking out for your interests if you are injured in a slip or trip and fall accident.
Call TheCharbonnet Law Firm Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip or trip and fall accident, regardless of where it occurred, call now for a free consultation with a member of our dedicated legal team.
The insurance companies and big corporations have an army of adjusters and lawyers looking out for their bottom line. You deserve a trusted, skilled attorney on your side, looking out for your family’s interests and fighting for the best possible compensation for your injuries.
At TheCharbonnet Law Firm, our first priority is you. We are proud to have served clients in Louisiana for more than five decades. Call today. We can help you understand your case and your options, and what comes next.