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Slip and Fall Accidents Overview: Accidents and Injuries

Slip and Fall Accidents Overview: Accidents and Injuries

You board a cruise ship looking for a good time, you spot a game of cornhole, and you try your hand at throwing the beanbag into the wooden board across the way. Things come crashing down, literally, when you fall as you’re throwing and seriously injure yourself. Can you sue?

Yes, it’s possible, as seen by the lawsuit filed in May 2018 by Jeffrey J. Makuch, against Spirit Cruises LLC. In the lawsuit, Makuch alleged that a trip on the Spirit of Norfolk cruise ship two years earlier resulted in unspecified severe and permanent injuries. Makuch sought a settlement of $373,456 in damages.

Unfortunately, the day news of this lawsuit made national coverage in July 2018, Makuch also passed away. In this case, someone else may continue to pursue the lawsuit on Makuch’s behalf.

Let’s look at what led to this interesting personal injury lawsuit, what factors are important to prove the cruise line’s negligence, and how other businesses can avoid a no-slip-and-fall accident like this one.

Cornhole Accident Spotlights Unique Personal Injury LawsuitFall, But No Slip

No-skid flooring on a ship probably makes sense for business owners. With possible splashing from the water surrounding the ship, flooring could get wet at any time. As well, dinner cruises like the one Makuch attended are often filled with alcohol and other beverages. Installing a no-skid floor would mean if someone spilled their drink, other patrons wouldn’t fall from slipping on it. Patrons who get seasick or have a difficult time walking on boats might be less likely to fall with no-skid flooring, too.

At least, that’s what the cruise line may have been thinking when it installed that type of flooring on its deck. Makuch alleged that when he threw the beanbag, he was unable to properly shift his weight while stepping. That caused the fall.

In response to the lawsuit, the cruise ship line owners filed a reply stating that their flooring does not present a risk. In order for Makuch’s lawsuit to be successful, his personal injury lawyer team will need to prove negligence on behalf of the cruise line.

Cornhole Accident Spotlights Unique Personal Injury Lawsuit What Constitutes Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases?

Slip and fall cases, or, in this instance, no-slip-and-fall cases, occur in a wide variety of settings. They can happen at a store, when a spill isn’t cleaned up and a shopper falls down. They could happen while someone is making a delivery, and they accidentally slip on grease. They can happen at a restaurant, where slippery new flooring has just been installed and poses a danger.

A wide variety of causes are cited in slip and fall accidents. These can include:

  • Poor lighting
  • Changes in flooring
  • Torn carpets
  • Wet floors
  • Narrow stairs
  • Hidden potholes

In order to prove that another party’s negligence is to blame in a slip and fall case, the following factors are examined.

Did another party cause the accident?

In cases where someone creates the dangerous condition that causes a slip and fall accident, they must also take steps to protect those who may come into contact with it. However, in cases where the victim’s carelessness is to blame, negligence is harder to prove. For example, if there is a “Warning: Slippery Floor” sign up, but someone walks on the floor and falls down anyway, they failed to heed the warning in this case.

Did another party fail to prevent the accident?

Sometimes hazards appear, and a slip and fall accident occurs immediately after. If the responsible party had no way of knowing about or preventing the accident, negligence will be questioned. However, if there is a reasonable amount of time that has passed where the venue operator should have corrected the situation or warned others about it, they may be deemed negligent.

Slip and fall accidents can happen on public property, at businesses, at other people’s homes and on government property. Anyone who is involved in a slip and fall accident should document the scene to show evidence of the hazards. If a claim is filed, negligence will have to be proven.

How to Prevent Injuries from Falling

If you own a business, this type of lawsuit is a reminder to always do your best to keep patrons safe. Even if you are accused of negligence but are deemed innocent in a slip and fall lawsuit, the publicity surrounding these types of cases can hurt a business reputation.

Protect a business from slip and fall injuries by doing the following.

Regularly walk through business space to identify hazards, including flooring hazards, lighting hazards and hazards on stairs.

Log all inspections.

If you see a hazard, mark it with a warning sign, or restrict access to it to prevent others from being hurt by it.

Fix or remove the hazard as quickly as possible.

Document work done on potential hazards.

Finally, listen to customer feedback about your space. If someone on a cruise ship is complaining that they almost fell because of the no-slip flooring, it might be time to research other types of building materials that improve the safety for patrons.

Tennis Star Wins Slip and Fall Lawsuit Against USTA

Tennis Star Wins Slip and Fall Lawsuit Against USTA

Just about everyone has slipped and fallen at some point in their lives. When you do so at work and it causes you to never perform at the same level, that’s a slip and fall that may result in a serious lawsuit. One such case recently ruled in favor of Canadian professional tennis athlete Eugenie Bouchard, who claimed a slippery locker room fall that resulted in a serious personal injury has had significant effects on her tennis career.

In February 2018, a U.S. district court in New York ruled that the United States Tennis Association (USTA) was liable for a disastrous slip and fall accident Bouchard experienced in 2015. The accident forced her to retire from the U.S. Open that same year. Her career-high rank of 5th in the world in 2014 has fallen to 116th today.

Tennis Star Wins Slip and Fall Lawsuit Against USTAHow Bouchard’s Accident Happened

During the September 2015 U.S. Open, the now-24-year-old Bouchard alleges she walked into a physiotherapy area of the National Tennis Center’s locker room to take an ice bath, wearing flip-flops, shorts and a sports bra. She slipped on a slippery substance, causing her to fall and crack her head.

The substance, which was a chemical cleaning spray, covered her back and caused her to scream out, “Oh my god, it burns!”, according to Bouchard’s testimony. The incident resulted in a concussion that forced Bouchard to withdraw from the tennis tournament, even though she was still active in both the singles and doubles brackets.

The lawsuit also alleged that the injury resulted in problems in subsequent tournaments. After experiencing dizziness shortly after withdrawing from the U.S. Open, she also retired from a match in progress at the China Open in Beijing, her first match since her injury.

How Bouchard Argued that the USTA Was Negligent

Bouchard alleged that because the USTA applied the slippery, chemical-filled cleaning spray in a dimly lit room, the organization put others like herself in danger. Despite the USTA pushing back that Bouchard should not have entered the training room without a trainer, and that she should have known that the room would be cleaned at that time of night, the burden of negligence was placed on the USTA.

While the USTA stated that the spray was only applied in the training room after management had believed all other parties had left, jurors were presented with evidence that there was nothing in the players’ handbook that stipulated players could only enter the training room at a certain time, or that they needed to be with a trainer upon doing so.

Tennis Star Wins Slip and Fall Lawsuit Against USTAWhat This Slip and Fall Settlement Means for Other Victims

Slip and fall accidents can happen in a variety of places: at work, at a sporting event, while shopping, or at any other public place. If you experience a slip and fall that results in serious personal injury, here are some signs negligence is to blame.

There was no warning that a slippery substance was on the ground.

If a venue owner applies something that could cause a slip and fall accident, visitors to that area should be adequately warned with clear signage, or the slippery area should be blocked off completely.

A dirty area that should have been cleaned was not.

Sometimes slip and fall accidents happen right after a spill, and the fall is truly an accident because venue managers were not aware of the danger. However, if someone tells a venue manager about a potential hazard, and there is a delay in cleaning it up, this may be considered negligence. As well, there is a responsibility venue managers hold that they keep all visitors safe, and that includes proactively monitoring and removing hazards.

The property manager should have prevented the accident.

If there is an unmaintained portion of the property that had a direct impact on causing the slip and fall accident, that negligence falls on the property owner. For example, a leak in the ceiling that goes unfixed and causes a pile-up of water is due to the property owner’s neglect.

How Are Settlements in Slip and Fall Accidents Determined?

While the settlement amount in the Bouchard case is unspecified, there are many factors that can make slip and fall accidents like hers significant. These include:

  • Medical bills from injuries
  • Financial loss due to time missed off work
  • Impact the fall has on future work performance

If you have been in a slip and fall accident and believe negligence is to blame, please contact the Birmingham personal injury attorney team at Pittman, Dutton & Hellums for a free consultation.

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