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Don’t Fall Down On the Case

It is always useful to check out the perspective of the other side in any injury litigation dispute. Fortunately for me, I started my legal practice at an insurance defense firm. The insight gained there has proven invaluable. That was helped in understanding litigation and the defense’s perspective. But information can come from independent agencies on the “ways” of accidents, including those on premisies. For instance, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) does research on the prevention of slip and fall accidents — for the benefit of flooring supply and maintenance companies and the insurance companies that represent them.

The NFSI compiled the following statistics on slip and fall accidents:

  • Emergency rooms treat one million fall down injuries per year
  • Majority (60 percent) of falls occur on flat surfaces
  • Falls are second-leading cause of injury-related fatalities for those aged 65 to 85
  • Falls are second-leading cause of brain and spinal cord injury in those over 65
  • Half of those over 65 who sustain a hip fracture after a fall cannot live independently
  • 85% of worker compensation claims involve slip and falls on slippery floors
  • Unsafe flooring responsible for two million injuries annually

Unsafe flooring can include loose tiles or carpeting, uneven surfaces or slippery or wet floors. After installation, flooring must be properly cleaned and maintained. Public premises must also take reasonable measures to safeguard against ice or snow during the winter, especially in light of the 2010 Supreme Judicial Court decision of Papadopoulos v. Target Corp. 2, 457 Mass. 368 (2010). There should also be adequate lighting and handrails.

I have seen devastating injuries in this context. A “slip and fall” may be deemed by some as not a big deal. But, as with surgery, “minor” is for someone else, not the author of such a statement.

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