Falls are the leading cause of medically treated injuries in America. Each year, they send over eight million people to the emergency room with injuries that range from mild to severe. Second only to car accidents, slip and fall accidents account for 15% of all accidental deaths in the U.S. These types of accidents can occur at work, at home, or anywhere else. A McHenry County personal injury attorney is knowledgeable about slip and fall injuries and Illinois laws.
Slip and Fall Statistics
Workplace falls are the main cause of lost time at work, with over 22% resulting in more than 30 days of missed work time. Slip and fall accidents make up 25% of all reported work accidents, and they are the most frequent types of workplace injuries. Manufacturing, retail, and wholesale trade industries account for 60% of workplace accidents, including falls to lower levels that account for 31% of work-related deaths. The most common type of workplace injury from slip and fall accidents is fractured or broken bones.
Falls at home account for 33% of slip and fall accidents especially for people over the age of 65. Statistics show that 50% of elderly adults hospitalized from a slip and fall fracture will not be able to return to their homes due to immobility or complications after recovery. At least 30% of falls at home result in injuries, and 50% of all at home accidental deaths are caused by falls.
Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, and most falls result in some type of injury. They’re often caused by snow and ice, wet floors, and uneven sidewalks on someone’s property. A property owner is legally responsible to ensure that their property is safe. Accidental falls caused by a property owner’s neglect creates premises liability. A McHenry County personal injury attorney can explain premises liability and personal rights and help to determine fault for a claim. Common slip and fall causes include:
- Uneven or poorly maintained sidewalks
- Poorly maintained or neglected public areas
- Unsafe, broken or narrow stairways
- Loose or broken handrails
- Poor lighting in stairwells and public areas
- Torn carpeting, uneven flooring and wet floors
- Unsafe and unprotected construction areas
Not all slip and fall accidents warrant filing an injury claim, but if the other party is at fault, a McHenry County personal injury attorney can determine if the case warrants a claim.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
The most common slip and fall injuries are sprained hands, wrists, arms and ankles, and more severe back, neck and head injuries. Back injuries, one of the most frequent types of slip and fall injuries, often result in muscle and ligament sprains, nerve damage, torn or ruptured discs, and more severe spinal cord injuries that can lead to immobilization or even permanent paralysis.
- Sprained hands, wrists and ankles – With an accidental fall, it’s a common impulse to gain balance and prevent the fall. This often results in sprained hands, wrists and ankles by trying to brace from the fall.
- Broken clavicle – Falling forward suddenly can slam the chest into the ground. If the collarbone hits the ground first, the force of the impact can shatter the clavicle.
- Tailbone fractures and bruises – With a backward fall, a natural reaction is to try to fall on the buttocks so it will absorb the impact. Unfortunately, the force of impact can travel to the tail bone causing fractures and bruising.
- Spinal cord injuries – Falling backward can throw the majority of impact to the spine. With a bad fall, the results could be a chipped vertebrae, torn or ruptured disc, nerve damage, or permanent spinal cord damage.
- Head and neck injuries – A sudden forward or backward fall can cause whiplash and neck injuries while trying to prevent a blow to the head. If the head hits the ground with significant force, the result could be bruising, skull fractures, and even brain damage.
After a slip and fall accident, an experienced McHenry County personal injury attorney can determine any variances in the law that may be affected by the accident location, extent of injuries, and fault for negligence. Due to the number of people who suffer injuries from slip and fall accidents, Illinois has developed an entire body of law around slip and fall negligence cases. Cases often hinge on just a few facts, including the owner’s knowledge of hazardous property conditions. Without accurate information and facts gathered and documented by a McHenry County personal injury attorney, liability for slip and fall accidents can be difficult to prove in court.