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Yellow fall sign

Last month marked Fall Prevention Awareness Week, as some Florida colleagues reminded us. While it’s true that older adults suffer the greatest number of fatal falls, the World Health Organization reports that injuries from falls have been affecting people of all ages, all around the world.

Falls are a common cause of fatalities in both workplace and home, statistics show, and our personal injury law colleagues at the Romano Law Group shared a list of safety guidelines to help prevent slip and fall accidents at home:

  • Stairs: Provide good lighting, install handrails, put nonslip treads on each step, and keep stairs free of clutter.
  • Bathroom: Install grab bars near toilet, bathtub and shower; use nonskid adhesive textured strips in shower and tub.
  • Bedroom: Place lamp and flashlight near the bed, make sure bed is easy to get into and out of, keep floor areas near bed clear of clutter.
  • Living areas: Clear clutter from floor, secure area rugs with double-sided tape or slip-resistant backing. Keep electrical and telephone cords out of pathways. Repair loose flooring.  Throw away wobbly pieces of furniture.
  • Kitchen: Clean up any spills and use a stepstool to reach upper cabinets.

Falls constitute one of the top three causes of work-related injuries as well. While the industries most at risk, according to the National Safety Council, are transportation, warehousing, and agriculture, preventable “falls, slips, and trips” occur at workplaces of all types.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) says that the successful reduction of fall injury and death rates requires is going to require the continued and concerted efforts of:

  • regulators
  • industry leaders
  • professional associations
  • labor unions
  • employers
  • employees
  • safety professionals
  • researchers
  • educators

Injured in a fall at work? Initiating the Workers’ Compensation process involves notifying your employer and filing a former Worker’s Comp claim. Injuries can be classified as partial or total, temporary or permanent. The amount and duration of compensation is dependent upon the classification of the injury.

I am often asked whether someone who has been in a slip and fall accident at work needs to consult a personal injury attorney. The answer I give is this: If any of the following describes the situation, it would be a good idea to have that personal consultation as soon as possible:

  • Your injuries require surgery
  • You are no longer able to work at your job on a regular basis
  • You have been told you are no longer able to work at any job using your skills
  • You would like to dispute a decision made by the Indiana Workers’ Compensation

What if your slip and fall accident did not happen either at home or at work, but at or near a retail establishment or office building? As with home accidents, until the incident occurs, most people never think of falling as a leading cause of bodily injury and death, but it definitely is. If you were injured in or around a store, and you believe you can prove the store managers or building owners could have prevented the accident from happening, you deserve to get help.

Slip and fall accidents are based on a type of negligence called premises liability.  The concept is that property owners have a duty to act reasonably to prevent accidents, including a duty to warn of dangerous conditions on their premises. Falls can happen due to:

  • inadequate lighting outside a building
  • potholes or uneven pavement on sidewalks or parking lots
  • un-shoveled snow and ice
  • grease or food spills not cleaned off the floor of a store or entryway to an office building

Fall prevention takes vigilance. “It takes a village,” as the saying goes – on the part of homeowners, consumers, employers, business owners – and you. But when prevention just hasn’t worked, our personal injury attorneys stand ready to help you navigate the legal system:

  • researching and finding evidence of liability
  • interviewing witnesses
  • organizing medical records
  • communicating and negotiating with healthcare providers

At the Indiana personal injury law firm of Ramey & Hailey, it’s fall prevention “week” 52 weeks a year. But when prevention simply hasn’t been up to the task, we go to work to help slip and fall victims get back on their financial feet.

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