The National Safety Council reports that more than 8.9 million people seek emergency room treatment for injuries related to falls every year. These unexpected accidents can have significant, life-altering consequences for victims. Some survivors deal with painful physical injuries resulting from their fall. Other victims end up with long-term impairment due to broken bones, shattered hips, or head trauma. Many develop traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that can permanently impair their cognitive abilities and motor skills. Trip and fall accidents can even result in death.
These accidents can also have long-term psychological impacts on both victims and families. They may not want to leave their homes, fearing they might have another accident. Others face financial hardships due to inability to work. Some are saddled with life-altering medical expenses.
Unfortunately, most people will trip and fall at some point in their lives, no matter how careful they are. Often, however, hazardous conditions on commercial property can cause a person to fall through no fault of their own. The Hughey Law Firm understands how these devastating accidents can damage lives.
Were you injured in a serious trip and fall? Contact one of our experienced attorneys representing clients in Columbia, South Carolina, today. Schedule a free consultation with us today at (843) 881-8644 to learn what we can do to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Our Results in Trip and Fall Accidents
The Hughey Law Firm works closely with our clients and are dedicated to helping clients put their lives back together after a trip and fall accident. We’ve won more than $100 million in settlements for our clients, and our legal team is proud of our 10.0 superb rating from Avvo in personal injury law.
Below are a few examples of results we’ve obtained for our clients relating to trip and fall accidents:
- $375,000 – Client injured due to a hazardous section of sidewalk.
- $350,000 – Client injured in a fall while in a hospital.
- $250,000 – Client with a fractured neck after a fall.
- $250,000 – Client diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a fall at an assisted living facility.
- $269,750 – Client injured by a collision with electronic door.
What’s the Difference Between a “Trip and Fall” and a “Slip and Fall?”
Trips and falls are one of the most common accidents. These incidents usually occur at commercial property locations that fail to observe proper safety standards. There are significant differences between “trip and fall” cases and “slip and falls,” however. Here are several major distinctions:
1. Each accident has a different cause.
Slippery materials cause slip and fall accidents. They can include wax, grease, water, ice, or other fluids. Immovable objects and uneven surfaces can also cause trip and fall incidents, such as damaged sidewalks or walkways. Open gratings, holes, and gaps can also cause serious injury.
2. The injuries differ due to the direction of the fall.
Slip and Falls: A slippery material usually causes the victim’s foot to slip forward during an accident. The force propels the victim’s feet forward, causing them to fall backward; most wounds occur on the posterior side of the body. Victims often suffer from the following injuries:
- Fractures to the neck, back, or hips
- Herniated vertebrae
- Trauma to the back of the head
Trip and Falls: Uneven surfaces and fixed objects cause trip and fall accidents. During a trip and fall, the victim’s foot hits a fixed object as they move forward, often causing the body to propel in the same direction. The majority of wounds occur on the anterior side of the body. Injuries include:
- Hand and arm fractures;
- Elbow injuries;
- Facial abrasions;
- Traumatic brain injuries; and
- Knee issues.
A trip and fall victim may experience additional injuries if they fall from a high place. These may include:
- Broken bones;
- Dislocated joints;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Soft tissue injuries; and
Who Is Liable for a Trip and Fall Accident?
Property owners must ensure their premises are safe. They should conduct regular checks of the premises and remove any hazards that can cause falls. Business owners face liability if they don’t remove dangers that can cause an accident. Owners or managers aware of potential hazards must post warnings; for example, waxing a floor without providing caution signs to customers can greatly increase the risk of a potential, serious injury.
Companies that fail to protect the public could face liability for a trip and fall accident. In these cases, victims often need to prove that the accident occurred on the defendant’s property, and resulted from the property owner, manager, or agent’s negligence. More specifically, plaintiffs must prove:
- An owner’s neglect creates the dangerous condition.
- The business owner knew the condition existed and failed to plan for it.
- The owner could have corrected the condition during a reasonable period.
Negligent property owners are often liable for the following hazards:
- Slippery floors;
- Falling materials;
- Sidewalks that are not maintained;
- Structural problems;
- Dilapidated staircases;
- Uneven walkways;
- Ice and snow that isn’t cleared;
- Poor security measures; and
What Kind of Damages Can I Recover?
Victims of serious trips and falls may plead a variety of damages. Common damages include:
- Medical bills – You may seek compensation for both past and future medical bills. Often, injuries can result in complications that require extensive follow-up or rehabilitative treatment.
- Lost wages – Victims often miss work due to injuries or may lose their employment due to a protracted or severe injury.
- Loss of earning capacity – Severe injuries can limit a victim’s ability to work in their ordinary field, or to work altogether. Damages may include the cost of any rehabilitative, educational, or vocational training required to obtain employment again.
- Pain and suffering – Victims may encounter serious physical pain, emotional trauma, or inability to live normally. These non-economic damages are subjective and often difficult to prove, but an essential aspect of recovery in the wake of a traumatic injury.
How Do Defendants Avoid Liability?
After a trip and fall accident, immediately notify the store manager, property manager, or owner about the accident. Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses; you may need their statements to support your claim later. If possible, document the site of the fall and your injuries using a camera or smartphone.
Some establishments will ask you to fill out a pre-printed form to document the accident; if you choose to do so, stick to the facts in your written statement. Avoid using language that could be used to argue your responsibility for the accident or injury. Include as many factual details as possible. Provide the incident location, witnesses’ names, and anyone that receives an accident report.
Know that it is usually unwise to provide any statements, sign documents, or communicate with an insurance company before first speaking to legal counsel; after an accident in Columbia, South Carolina, immediately seek a trusted personal injury attorney like the Hughey Law Firm. Our team knows how to handle insurance companies, investigators, and defendant’s attorneys; let us do the heavy lifting while you concentrate on getting better.
How Much Will Legal Services Cost Me?
Our associates believe that everyone deserves justice, regardless of ability to pay. That’s why consultations with our legal team are always free, and we represent clients on a contingency fee basis: there is no cost to obtain an attorney, and we only deduct our fees as a portion of any successful settlement or judgment you recover.
The Personal Injury Team You Can Trust
Were you injured in a trip and fall accident in Columbia, South Carolina? Schedule a free case evaluation today at (843) 881-8644 or contact us online. Let our team of dedicated professionals show you why Columbia residents in need of justice trust the Hughey Law Firm.