How many steps do you take a day? Many people simply have no idea how much they walk. Others might be game to try guessing. And some people reading this probably just took a look at an activity tracker on their phone right now to check their progress so far today.
Whether you know or not, it’s probably safe to say that you don’t think too much of any one of those steps during the course of a day. Walking is something we don’t usually need to think about. Yet if you’ve suffered a serious injury from a slip, trip or fall, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about the last step before your accident.
Was I paying enough attention to the path in front of me? Why wasn’t that icy sidewalk salted? How did I miss that last step on the staircase? Why did I have to climb over that hazard blocking my way? If only that store had better lighting so I could see where I was going.
Slips, trips and falls prompt a lot of thinking about how things could have been different. Many times, accident victims focus their mind on the negligence of the owner/operator of a property and think of all the ways they could have made an area safer for people passing over it. But often, accident victims are also hard on themselves for not exercising more caution as they moved. They wonder if they were at fault for their own mishap.
Determining fault or the proportion of fault when there is evidence of contributory negligence are important factors in slip, trip and fall cases. Some accident victims may blame themselves for their injury and believe they wouldn’t be entitled to any compensation; however, it is always worth your time to contact an Edmonton slip, trip and fall lawyer for a free consultation. An investigation into the circumstances behind your accident may determine that you could make a claim for damages.
What Are Slips, Trips and Falls?
Slips occur when a weight-bearing leg unexpectedly shifts underneath a person causing them to lose balance. Most often they occur when a heel hits the ground and body weight is transferred to a lead foot. If that foot slides, a person will lose support and begin to fall. Many times a quick shift or adjustment in body weight can prevent a fall, but painful muscle strains, sprains and especially lower back injuries can result even if a person remains upright.
Trips happen when a person’s forward-moving leg unexpectedly stops or encounters resistance. While your body maintains its motion, the foot it expects to carry its weight can land in time to support it. Any sudden change in the height of a walking surface – even as little as one centimeter – can be enough to cause a trip. A change from a low resistance surface to a high resistance surface can also be enough to be a tripping hazard.
While falls can be the result of both slips and trips, there can be many other reasons for a fall. These include: a medical issue, misjudging the height of a change in walking surface, unsafe ladder use or an unsteady platform, a hand support giving way, and improper rise or tread dimension on stairs.
Slip, Trip and Fall Statistics
Accidental falls are the most common form of injury in the country. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) reports that about one-third of all emergency room visits are the result of an unintentional fall. This means almost 1,800 Canadians are brought to hospitals every day following a fall, and more than 400 of them are admitted. Falls that require hospitalization also tend to cause injuries that require longer stays – 14.3 days versus 7.5 days for all other medical reasons.
Older Canadians are most at risk for falls, and they are also more likely to sustain more serious injuries. However, falls can occur at any age and for a variety of reasons. Falls up or down stairwells are common among children and adults. But the outdoors provides many places ripe for a slip, trip or fall. Around 8,800 fall-related hospital visits each year are from slips on ice (the number one cause of winter injuries). Snow, ice and rain tracked indoors can also cause slippery floors that are sites of many injuries.
Although most falls occur at home, thousands of slips, trips and falls are recorded each year in public spaces (sidewalks, parks, municipal recreation centres, hospitals, long-term care facilities) and private dwellings or establishments (stores, malls, restaurants, theatres, parking lots and garages, walkways, driveways).
Protecting Yourself and Others From Slips, Trips and Falls
Most slips, trips and falls are preventable and there are things you can do to lessen your chance of being hurt, or unintentionally contributing to another person’s slip, trip or fall.
By wearing properly fitting footwear with good grips, walking in well-lit areas, holding a hand-rail while walking up or down stairs and exercising extra caution during times of frequent thaws, freezes, or poor weather, you may save yourself from injury (or at least limit its severity).
Similarly, since many falls occur in homes, you can do your part to keep your family and visitors safe by: regularly cleaning walking surfaces to keep them free from dirt, grease or contaminants, keeping your property well-lit, marking any unsafe areas with hazard or caution signs, moving items from frequently travelled areas, securing rugs or other loose flooring, and keeping exterior pathways free from ice.
Finally, strength-training and maintaining good physical fitness can be especially important as we age to avoid contributing to poor balance or muscle weakness.
What If I’ve Been Hurt Due To A Slip, Trip or Fall?
If you’ve suffered a slip, trip and fall, chances are more than your pride will be bruised. You should seek medical help immediately, even if you don’t think you are hurt too badly. Some injuries are readily apparent after a fall, while others may take time to appear. If there was any blow to your head or awkward motion that could have caused muscle or spine injury, a medical provider should see you soon after the accident for a preliminary assessment. Delaying a visit could make it more difficult to prove your injuries were the result of the fall.
If you are able, try to take photos of video of the area where the fall happened, any visible injuries, and your footwear. Also, if anyone witnessed your fall you may want to obtain their contact information. Finally, make a note of any other facts you believe could be relevant to the accident.
As soon as possible following the accident you should contact an Edmonton slip, trip and fall lawyer to discuss whether you have a case. An investigation into the scene of the accident should take place before there is an opportunity for the person or business responsible for the area to make modifications.
Moreover, if your injuries prevent you from working or require special medical treatments, a slip, trip and fall lawyer can begin talking with your insurance provider to ensure quick access to any benefits you may have.
Finally, there are time limits for making a claim for compensation that can be especially tight if your accident occurred on municipal property. Notice of a claim must normally be received by the municipality within 21 days from the date of loss
Making A Claim
According to Alberta’s Occupier Liability Act, a person or persons (the occupier) who are responsible for and have control over the condition of a premises owes a duty of care to see that visitors will be reasonably safe in using the premises. If this duty of care is breached due to negligence and a visitor invited to the premises or one who had a lawful reason to be there suffers an injury or loss, the occupier can be held liable for damages.
To be successful against a municipality, an accident victim must prove “gross negligence.” The Municipal Government Act places a much higher standard than what’s required for private property owners because municipalities must maintain vast areas.
What is reasonable care? Courts refer to case law and the specific context of the case at hand to determine whether an occupier exercised reasonable care. But some common examples of negligence that breaches this duty of care include: failing to salt or sand icy sidewalks or driveways on property used by visitors, failure to clean up spills in a timely manner, inadequate or no guard rails in stairwells, failure to post warning signs drawing attention to clearly hazardous areas, and poor lighting in spaces where there are potential hazards. If a space has been the site of previous accidents or near misses and no remediation work has been completed, a court may also find that an occupier has been negligent.
Claims for compensation can include calculable losses (lost income, medical bills, costs associated with care) and non-pecuniary damages (pain and suffering).
Why Should I Contact Litco Law Edmonton Slip, Trip and Fall Lawyers?
Victims of slip, trip and fall accidents often blame themselves for their misfortune and may be embarrassed to come forward to ask whether they have a viable claim. At Litco Law, we will never act in a way that makes you feel badly if your own actions caused or contributed to your injury. Instead, we will explain whether you would stand to benefit from making a claim and taking part in the legal process.
Our firm, which has been helping injured Albertans access benefits and compensation for more than 40 years, has built a strong reputation as consisting of personal injury advocates who care about our clients as people first. Recognized by our peers as one of Canada’s Top 10 Boutique Personal Injury firms (Canadian Lawyer Magazine), our experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate Edmonton slip, trip and fall lawyers are ready to provide a free, no obligation consultation to help you understand your legal rights and what you could stand to gain from civil action.
As we listen to your story, we’ll offer our insight, suggest resources that may be of help to you, and explain what our firm can do to help you if you choose us as your legal representative. We use easy-to-understand language, try to make the process as simple and painless as possible, and are always available to answer your questions or address any concerns you may have.
When you treat a person with kindness, respect and concern, they recognize that you generally care about their well-being. So it’s no surprise that our past clients not only tell us how much they valued our professionalism, compassionate care, and approachability, but they also frequently refer their friends, family and loved ones to us if they are looking for a personal injury lawyer.
A serious slip, trip and fall injury can have a dramatic impact on your life. If it results in a permanent disability, that life will never be as it was before. However, with Litco Law Edmonton slip, trip and fall lawyers on your side and by your side, you can begin the next chapter in your life with confidence and hope.
Looking For a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Edmonton? Contact Us.
We service the Edmonton and surrounding area, including the Parkland, Leduc, Strathcona, Sturgeon Counties. When you need a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Edmonton, think Litco Law Personal Injury Lawyers.