A slip and fall accident is exactly what it sounds like: an unintentional fall which is caused by spills, debris, poor lighting, or other property hazards. Fall injuries, which are a very common source of premises liability claims, can occur at any time and in any setting, including shopping malls, parking lots, and even the public sidewalks in Oklahoma City.
If you or one of your loved ones was injured after falling on another person’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost income, your hospital bills, and other losses and expenses resulting from your accident. The attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook can help. With over 75 years of combined experience handling complex slip and fall claims, our driven, aggressive approach has enabled us to recover compensation for countless clients who were injured on residential and commercial properties in the Oklahoma City area.
To set up a free and confidential legal consultation, call the law offices of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040. Our friendly, knowledgeable attorneys will provide you with a free assessment of your case.
Common Slip and Fall Accident Causes and Injuries
Accidental falls can occur on all types of indoor and outdoor premises, including:
• Apartment buildings
• Department stores
• Fast food franchises
• Grocery stores
• Hotels and motels
• Parking garages
• Parking lots
• Public pools
• Shopping centers
Dangerous conditions inside of a building may include:
• Abrupt changes in flooring
• Broken or sunken flooring
• Carpeting which hasn’t been fastened down properly
• Loose railings and banisters which can’t support a person’s weight
• Poor lighting
• Stairs that are too narrow
• Wet or freshly-waxed floors, which should be indicated with warning signs
Hazardous conditions outside a building can include:
• Broken, crumbling sidewalks
• Icy, snowy, slippery sidewalks
• Potholes in the ground, which can be difficult to see
Regardless of where or why they occur, falls have the potential to result in serious injury or even wrongful death. According to the most recent data supplied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), accounting for more than 40% of all TBI cases. Even when they involve low speeds and small heights, falls can result in:
• Blunt force trauma
• Broken bones
• Neck injuries
• Scarring and disfigurement
• Spinal cord injuries (SCI)
• Wrist fractures
While anyone can suffer a fall injury, some demographics are particularly vulnerable. Elderly adults are at greatly increased risk not only for experiencing falls, but also for being seriously harmed when a fall does occur. For instance, falls are responsible for more than 95% of hip fractures among adults aged 65 or older. Not only do hip fractures necessitate painful, costly, and risky surgical procedures, they also dramatically increase the risk of death. Recent medical research indicates that the risk of death within three months of injury increases five-fold for women and eight-fold for men.
I Fell and Hurt Myself on Another Person’s Property, Do I Have a Case?
All property or building owners have a certain level of responsibility to make sure that an environment is safe. At the same time, being injured on another person’s property does not automatically make the owner responsible for the injuries.
For example, an owner generally has no duty to protect invitees from a dangerous condition that is open and obvious, such as a large sinkhole which is clearly visible from a distance. However, if the property owner had reason to know that the dangerous condition would cause harm despite the invitee’s knowledge, the owner may be liable for the injury caused by the dangerous condition.
You should also know that property owners generally have no duty to make their premises safe for trespassers. However, again an exception applies: the property owner does have a duty not to injure a trespasser by a willful, wanton, or intentional act that is known or reasonably should be known.
If you were lawfully present on the property, and the hazardous condition was not open or obvious, you may have a strong basis for a claim or lawsuit. A case from 1973 provides a good introduction to the slip and fall law in Oklahoma with regard to a store or shopping center:
“A storekeeper owes customers the duty to exercise ordinary care to keep aisles and other parts of the premises ordinarily used by customers in transacting business in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn customers of dangerous conditions upon the premises which are known, or which should reasonably be known to the storekeeper, but not to customers. [Citations omitted.] Knowledge of the dangerous condition will be imputed to the storekeeper if he knew of the dangerous condition, or if it existed for such time it was his duty to know of it, or if the condition was created by him, or by his employees acting within the scope of the employment. [Citations omitted.]” –Williams v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 515 P.2d 223 (Okla. 1973).
But what should you actually do if an unsafe condition has caused you to be hurt on someone else’s property?
Besides being sure to seek prompt medical attention for your injuries, you should also try to document the condition of the property in a way that will show how or why it may have led to your injury. This is very important, because quite often the owner of the property will try to repair or disguise the dangerous defect or other contributing factors. The owner may simply want to prevent the accident from happening again; but then again, he or she may also want to destroy the evidence of any potential liability.
Along with seeking medical treatment and documenting the environment where your accident took place, you should also call our Oklahoma slip and fall injury lawyers at (405) 698-3040 for a free case assessment. You may be able to recover damages for your injuries and losses, including past and projected medical bills, lost earnings, and other expenses. When you call Hasbrook & Hasbrook for your free consultation, we will determine whether you have a case and provide you with a clear and straightforward explanation of your next steps.