It is not uncommon for people to experience slips and falls in public places which can often lead to serious back, neck or head injuries. For some, full recovery can take months or even years. If you have been injured off the back of a slip and fall, recovering medical expenses and financial losses attributed to your personal injury may be possible.
What is a slip and fall claim?
A slip and fall claim is a legal compensation claim. You may decide to make a slip and fall claim if you were injured in a public place and it happened because of the property owner or occupier’s negligence.
Where are slip and fall injuries likely to occur?
Slip and fall injuries can occur in many places you may commonly visit on a day to day basis, such as:
- Supermarkets and shops
- Your workplace
Restaurants and cafes
- Theme parks, gyms, sports centres
- Universities and schoolyards
What is Public Liability Insurance?
Public Liability insurance is designed to provide protection for the property owner or occupier in the event a customer, supplier or a member of the public brings a claim against the property owner or occupier due to them being injured or sustaining property damage as a result of the property owner or occupier’s negligent business activities.
What do you have to prove to win a Slip and Fall Compensation claim?
You must be able to show the following :
1. The property owner or occupier owed you a duty of care
A duty of care is owed by an occupier of premises towards all the people who they can reasonably foresee will enter the premises. For example, a supermarket will owe a duty of care towards all of its customers and staff, as it is reasonably foreseeable that they will be on the supermarket premises. This duty of care means that they must ensure the safety and well-being of those people.
2. They breached their duty of care
A breach of duty of care means that the negligent party has not taken reasonable steps to ensure the safety and well-being of those to which they owe a duty of care.
3. You experienced loss because you suffered an injury caused by the breach
This may pertain to a physical or psychological injury, damage to property or economic loss.
What is covered in slip and fall payout?
You can claim different types of compensation, including:
1. Loss of present and future income
If your injury has resulted in any loss of income or wages, you may be entitled to claim those amounts back for both past and future loss.
2. Present and future medical expenses
An amount to cover any medical treatment or related expenses that have resulted specifically from injury.
3. Present and future care requirements
If your injury has required you to recruit domestic assistance (a cleaner or gardener, for example) these expenses can be claimed as a lump sum payment at the settlement of your claim.
4. Pain and suffering
Often a lump sum payment payable for the pain and other negative effects that the injury has had on your life, including psychological trauma.
5. Contributory negligence
Contributory negligence occurs when your own negligence has contributed to the causation of their injury, due to a failure to take reasonable care for their own safety. For example, where a customer sees a ‘slippery when wet’ sign at the supermarket but proceeds to run through the area, and then they slip and fall, they may be considered partly or fully at fault for their injuries. If this is the case, responsibility for the injury will be apportioned between you and negligent party, and compensation will be reduced accordingly.
What are the injuries that may be endured from a slip or fall?
1. Broken bones
In slip and fall accidents, hip, wrist, and ankle fractures are some of the most common types of broken bones.
2. Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries can range from minor ankle and wrist sprains to devastating tears in tendons and ligaments.
If left untreated, soft tissue injuries can cause chronic pain, and may also make you more vulnerable to subsequent injuries.
3. Back or spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be classified as either “complete” or “incomplete,” depending on the extent of the damage to the spinal cord. And they can also be classified by where in the spine they occur:
- Cervical SCI: Vertebrae C1 through C8 in the upper spinal cord
- Thoracic SCI: Vertebrae T1 through T12 in the middle of the spinal cord
- Lumbar SCI: Vertebrae L1 through L5 in the lower back
- Sacral SCI: The region where the nerves exit the lower spine
- Coccygeal (or coccyx) SCI: The single vertebra commonly known as the “tail bone”
4. Neck injuries
Neck injuries can range from muscle sprains to spinal injuries to even paralysis.
Symptoms of concussions generally include (but are not limited to) headache, confusion, feeling “foggy,” dizziness, ringing in the ears, and nausea. Loss of consciousness may or may not occur.
6. Other form of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
TBIs can be absolutely devastating to a person's quality of life because severe TBIs can impact brain function, cause seizures, and loss of bodily control.
7. Cuts and Abrasions
More often than not, these injuries only require superficial treatment, and maybe some stitches.
8. Knee and ankle injuries
Knees are a complicated collection of bone and ligaments, so when you hurt your MCL or your ACL, it can take a long time to heal.
In addition to ligament tears, you may also dislocate your patella, and you may need knee reconstruction immediately or in the future.
9. Shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries
Shoulder injuries from falls typically result in shoulder dislocation, torn nerves, or collarbone breaks.
Even the most minor shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries are incredibly painful and often require surgery.
10. Facial injuries
Injuries to the face can occur as a result of striking the ground or striking an object while falling. This includes severe cuts, broken teeth and jaw fractures, nose fractures, and eye injuries.
Making a successful claim to cover your slip and fall
You must be able to show evidence to prove your loss. Evidence can take many forms and may include:
- Accident records
- Photographs of the accident site
- Photographs of your injuries
- Medical records
- Doctors’ reports
- Witness statements and contact details
- Invoices or receipts for any injury-related medical expenses (or other expenses)
- Proof of income, including wage records and tax returns
- Emails, letters, or other communications between you and the property owner or occupier
What should you do if you had a slip and fall?
- Take photographs of the injury, what caused your accident, and the location where the injury occurred
- Write down what happened to you
- Look for CCTV cameras covering the accident scene
- Report your injury to the property owner or occupier as soon as possible
- Record the contact details of any witnesses
- Seek medical treatment and explain to your doctor how you were injured
- Keep any medical record of your injury. This includes appointment dates, medical certificates and x-rays
- Recording any expenses or lost wages due to your injuries
- Contact Jameson Law, we’ll be able to answer your questions, help you consider your options, and advise if you may have a claim.