The causes of slip and fall accidents are varied, and can arise from temporary or permanent conditions, both inside and outside buildings and on land. It is important to remember that it is the owner or other person responsible for the property who should ensure that it is not in a dangerous condition. Sometimes the cause of the accident can be fleeting (spilled liquid) or permanent (a broken concrete slab on the sidewalk). However, in some cases the person who is injured may be partially or even totally to blame for the slip and fall accident. This may be because of intoxication, carelessness, failure to pay attention or perhaps even being pushed.
When a plaintiff is seeking to establish the cause of the slip and fall accident, their attorney will often employ the services of an expert who will look at all the external factors and the circumstances of the accident.
A wet or slippery floor; flooring which appears normal but has a slippery texture; a sudden dip or rise in the floor level, torn carpets or cracks or holes in the floor. Stairs can also pose significant risks if they have uneven surfaces, dirt or trash on them or have broken handrails. Similarly, exposed cables and not providing sufficient levels of lighting are also common causes of indoor accidents.
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Negligence can also be established if a responsible person failed to put adequate warnings around a hazard e.g. to warn that a floor is being polished, or to point out steps, uneven floor surfaces, or low ceilings, or put a foreign object on the floor surface that someone trips over. Escalators and elevators are also common causes of slip and fall injuries, such as if the mechanism stops suddenly or causes jerks in movement. In certain circumstances, the plaintiff can prove the negligence of the defendant by demonstrating that the landowner or other responsible party violated a statute, e.g. a building code.
Slip and fall accidents can also happen outside buildings. Common causes are cracks in paving stones, sudden dips or rises in ground height, potholes, ice, curbs and hazards in parking lots etc. Appropriate warnings should be given to emphasize increased risk around hazards.
Whatever the cause of the slip and fall accident, it is important that you ensure that you obtain as much evidence of the circumstances as possible. The two most important ways to assist your claim are to seek medical attention and to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.