Slip and Fall Accidents: Leading Cause of Hospital Visits But How Is Fault Determined?

Slips and falls account for more than 8 million hospital emergency visits and are ranked as the leading cause of hospital visits (21.3% of all visits), according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). Floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year, according to statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  Fractures occur in 5% of all people who fall, and of these, hip fractures result in the most long lasting health problems, and sometimes even death, for the injured person. In the workplace, 85% of workers’ compensation claims are attributed to employees slipping on slick floors (Industrial Safety & Occupational Health Markets, 5th edition). Falls represent 40% of all nursing home admissions and are the sixth leading cause of death among people aged 70 years or older. So, how do you know if you or a loved one are the victim of injuries sustained in a fall due to negligence or faulty flooring materials? Here is the generally accepted legal criteria. Could the Property Owner Have Prevented the Accident? Could You Have Avoided It? Ask this question first: If the property owner had been more careful, could the accident have been avoided? Also ask, were you or your loved one taking care to be aware of surroundings? It is generally accepted that property owners must take reasonable steps to ensure that their properties are free from dangerous conditions that would cause a person to slip and fall. However, this reasonableness is often balanced against the care that the person who slipped and fell should have used. So, Who Is At Fault? To prove liability in a Slip and Fall Accident case, the injured party will need to demonstrate that at least one of the following factors was present:
  1. The property owner, manager or employee(s) were aware of the condition –– or should have been aware––– and did not fix the problem.
  2. The property owner, manager or employee(s) caused the dangerous condition (spill, broken flooring, etc.).
  3. Most slip and fall accident cases involve demonstrating the reasonableness of the property owner/management’s actions. This can be a very tricky area to negotiate and one in which the experience and knowledge of a skilled attorney can help you to evaluate. Learn more /blog/determining-liability-in-a-slip-and-fall-accident/.  
  4. There is also the rule of comparative negligence to be considered in Tennessee slip and fall accidents.  This rule pertains to the injured party and seeks to determine if he or she, in some way, contributed to their own accident. If this is the case, the award for injuries and other damages may be lessened by the amount that the injured party was comparatively at fault. This percentage is determined by a judge and/or jury.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident and considering legal action, it’s important to act fast. The statute of limitations in Tennessee is just one year from the date of the accident. For more information and guidance on filing an injury claim, contact a Bristol personal injury attorney. Call Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, P.C. today at 423-797-6022 to schedule your free initial consultation, or contact us online.