Posts in Slip And Fall Injuries

Slip And Fall Injuries

How Does Bad Weather Affect Slip and Fall Liability?

April 11, 2018 Slip And Fall Injuries 0 Comments

Heavy rain in the city. Rain droplets on the staircase during downpour.

Louisiana individuals and property owners alike may be unfamiliar with their rights and responsibilities when it comes to slips and falls in bad weather. As we continue through a season of uncharacteristically severe weather, it may be helpful to review the effect that rain and other potentially hazardous weather can have on slip and fall liability.

Slip and fall liability of property owners and occupiers

Bad weather or not, businesses and individuals in control of property – whether as an owner, a tenant, or even a maintenance or management company – have the responsibility to take steps to protect those who enter the premises. They must act reasonably and, when they know of dangers, must either remove the hazards or warn visitors that they are there.

In extreme winter weather, this duty remains. But it is not just outdoor hazards to be on the watch for. For example, when rain and slush get tracked inside, it can create slick floor surfaces. Property owners and managers need to address these indoor potential threats as well.

Responsibility of individuals

Individuals also have a duty. It is a general duty to be careful while doing whatever it is they do. This means that whether jogging down the road or shopping in a grocery store, people need to watch where they are going, taking heed of warnings of danger. Louisiana follows a rule of comparative negligence, which means a plaintiff’s personal injury award can be reduced in proportion to his or her own degree of fault.

Not all bad weather hazards have warnings, though. Black ice, for example, is more or less invisible, so it can be difficult to avoid. It is important to be on the lookout for these bad weather dangers, but when they cannot be avoided, it is time to take a closer look at whether someone who controlled the property may be liable.

Talk with slip and fall lawyer Bart Bernard

Like other slip and fall injuries, bad weather injuries may be preventable as long as proper precautions are taken. This duty remains even though bad weather is a more rare occurrence.

If you or a loved one has been injured, speak with Bart Bernard, a slip and fall lawyer Baton Rouge and Lafayette, LA put their trust in to fight all the way down the line for injury victims. Bart works tirelessly to investigate your case and collect the hard evidence needed to prove fault. Protect your rights to full and fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more!  Call today to set up a free confidential consultation.

Additional bad weather slip and fall resources:

  1. United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Winter Weather Hazards/Precautions, https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/hazards_precautions.html
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Important Facts about Falls, https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

What Parents Must Know About the Dangers of Escalators

March 9, 2018 Slip And Fall Injuries 0 Comments

escalator Escalators are a regular sight at family-friendly locations like shopping malls and museums, so a significant portion of the riders of the estimated 90 billion annual rides are children. Though there are more elevators than escalators in the United States, escalator injuries are about 15 times more common and young children are the most likely to be injured by them. Understanding the causes can help parents be prepared to keep their kids safe.

How escalator injuries happen

When it comes to escalators, to say that there are a lot of moving parts is more than just a figure of speech. Potential points of failure include:

  • Steps
  • Handrails
  • Comb plates
  • Belts
  • Screws and other fasteners

When any of these parts is broken, defective, poorly maintained, or improperly installed or adjusted, it opens up the possibility of injury. The most commonly-reported ways these happen include:

  • Slipping or tripping
  • Falling, including over the side rail
  • Entanglement due to motorization

Children are among most likely escalator injury victims

Children are particularly vulnerable to entrapment accidents, where the moving parts of the escalator trap a piece of clothing or body part. Of the 10,000 annual escalator injuries in this country, most are to children under the age of 12 or seniors over 65.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, falls account for 75% of the injuries while entrapment between the escalator sidewall and the top or bottom of the escalator or its moving stair makes up about 20%. About half of these entrapment type accidents injure children under the age of 5.

Avoiding escalator injuries

Children’s escalator injuries are most often attributable to something getting caught between the stair and sidewall or in the comb plate at the bottom or top of the escalator. Small hands and footwear are among the common hazards.

When riding with small children, remember the following:

  • Make sure shoes are tied before riding
  • Stand in the middle of the escalator stair and do not let children ride too close to the side
  • Hold the rail with one hand and firmly hold the child or the child’s hand with the other
  • Tuck away any loose clothing or dangling accessories
  • Do not allow children to ride while sitting
  • Step over the comb plate rather than riding into it

If an injury does occur, seek medical help. As soon as possible, also try to take some photos of where the accident happened and obtain the contact information for witnesses.

What happens if you are injured on an escalator?

An escalator injury can result in physical pain, emotional suffering, and mounting medical bills. Louisiana slip and fall lawyer Bart Bernard is dedicated to helping personal injury victims recover from these losses by holding property owners accountable. Call today to schedule a free consultation in our Baton Rouge or Lafayette offices.

Additional Escalator Injuries Resources:

  1. Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health, http://www.elcosh.org/document/1232/d000397/Deaths+and+Injuries+Involving+Elevators+and+Escalators+-+A+Report+of+the+Center+To+Protect+Workers%27+Rights.html?show_text=1
  2. United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, Know the Steps to Safety When Using Escalators, Some shoes more likely than others to pose risk, https://www.cpsc.gov/content/know-the-steps-to-safety-when-using-escalators-some-shoes-more-likely-than-others-to-pose
  3. Schindler, Escalator Tips, https://www.schindler.com/ae/internet/en/service-maintenance/safety/tips-for-escalator-users.html

3 Places Where Slip and Fall Accidents Commonly Occur

February 14, 2018 Slip And Fall Injuries 0 Comments

caution wet floor sign at a corridorSlips, trips and falls leading to serious, long-lasting injury are all-too-common. Here are three places where slips, trips and falls commonly occur.

Icy Sidewalks and Parking Lots

When sleet or freezing rain falls, or temperatures drop below normal levels, places where people have to walk can become dangerously icy. Sidewalks and parking lots can become slick with ice or even snow. As a result, people can slip and fall very easily.

This is especially true in Louisiana, where merchants and the state often don’t prepare for chilly temperatures that could make pedestrian areas dangerous, because low temperatures and freezing precipitation are so infrequent.

Retail Stores

Floors in retail stores can become dangerously slippery very easily. If someone drops a glass bottle in a grocery or convenience store, for example, the liquid — not to mention the glass — will be on the floor.

While the store’s employees should clean up the area and put barriers around it so customers don’t slip, they don’t always get to it as quickly as they should. Customers and bystanders can slip and fall.

At Work on Boats or Construction Areas

Some occupations present dangers of slipping and falling. Workers on fishing boats, for example, must often work on surfaces that are slick with the catch, water, and other substances. Construction workers work on surfaces that may be uneven and under construction.

As a result, workers in both these occupations have a higher danger of slipping and falling than workers in other occupations.

Liability for Slip and Fall Accidents

Under the law, those responsible for these areas have a duty of care to keep them safe. That means that a retail establishment’s parking lot and sidewalk need to be kept free of ice, so pedestrians can walk safely. Store floors need to be cleaned up promptly if something has been spilled. Boats and construction areas should be safe to work on without danger of slipping and falling.

If those responsible do not keep these areas safe, they may bear liability for a slip and fall accident if it can be proved that:

  1. They knew or should reasonably have known that conditions were unsafe.
  2. There had been sufficient time to correct the conditions.
  3. They did not correct the conditions.

Do You Need a Slip and Fall Attorney?

Louisiana slip and fall attorney Bart Bernard has decades of experience winning cases where the plaintiff was hurt due to a property owner’s negligence. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, take advantage of your legal rights to compensation for medical bills and more! Call Bart Bernard today in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, LA. All initial case consultations are free, and we charge you no fees unless we win money for you.

More information on common slip and fall accident sites:

  1. Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. State of Louisiana. Winter Weather. Winter Storms. http://gohsep.la.gov/ABOUT/LOUISIANA-HAZARDS-THREATS/WINTER-WEATHER
  2. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Workplace Solutions. Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls in Wholesale and Retail Trade Establishments. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2013-100/pdfs/2013-100.pdf
  3. National Floor Safety Institute. Slip and Fall Quick Facts. https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/

3 Ways You Can Get Hurt in the Supermarket

January 19, 2018 Slip And Fall Injuries 0 Comments

supermarketTo most people, the supermarket may not seem like a dangerous place. After all, it’s where you go to get the necessities of everyday life: food, household products, and so on.

But there are many ways to get hurt in the supermarket. Three of the most common are slip and fall accidents, cuts from flying glass, and getting caught in the doors.

1. Slip and Fall Accidents

The supermarket floor will get wet and slippery if:

  • Someone drops and breaks a bottle or package containing liquid.
  • Food or other material is dropped and spilled.
  • Employees have been mopping or cleaning the floor and haven’t sufficiently dried it.

The store employees should put warning signs or cones around places that are wet so people have ample warning that they shouldn’t walk there. They should also clean up any spilled liquid or other material that makes the floor dangerous as soon as possible.

If the store fails to do this, they could be liable for any injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents. Stores have a responsibility to make sure their premises are as safe as possible for the public.

If an area is clearly dangerous to the point where someone could slip and fall, and the store’s employees have had enough time to put warning signs around it and clean it up, injured parties could have a claim.

2. Cuts From Broken Glass

Not all injuries from broken bottles and dropped glass packages stem from slip and falls. If someone drops a glass container, it can break and send pieces of glass flying.

Both the person who drops it and passersby in the store could be injured by pieces and shards of glass.

In this case, the store would not be liable, unless the container was dropped by a store employee. Depending on the circumstances, the person who dropped it could be liable. If the packaging was unsafe, the manufacturer could be liable.

3. Injuries Stemming From the Supermarket’s Doors

Supermarkets often have automatic doors. They open when people step on a certain area adjacent to the door. Some supermarkets have revolving doors.

In both cases, people can be injured. In the first type of door, the unexpected opening or closing of a door can injure people, especially children or the elderly.

In the second, people can be injured if the door is revolving too quickly. Again, the people most likely to be injured in this type of door are children or the elderly.

For all these types of injuries, it is important to have a record of the type and extent of the injury. If you have a cell phone with a camera, take pictures of your injuries and the supermarket area where you were injured as soon as possible.

Call Bart Bernard Immediately If You Are Hurt In a Slip and Fall

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a supermarket, Baton Rouge slip and fall lawyer Bart Bernard can help. You may be entitled to compensation to cover medical bills, physical therapy, time lost from work, and more.

For your convenience, the Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers has two Louisiana offices, one in Baton Rouge and one in Lafayette. For a free consultation, call Bart today or contact him online. Bart Bernard charges no fees unless he wins you money!

Additional “Supermarket Slip and Fall” Resources:

  1. Han, Nydia. “Consumer Reports: Nation’s best, worst supermarkets.” Channel 6 ABC Action News, WPIV Philadelphia. April 3, 2015. http://6abc.com/food/consumer-reports-nations-best-worst-supermarkets/618788

3 Leading Causes of Injury and Death in Older Americans

December 13, 2017 Slip And Fall Injuries 0 Comments

slip trip and fall injuryEver wonder what the 3 leading causes of injury and death in Americans aged 65 and over are?

#1. Falls

The leading cause of injury and death for older Americans is falls. Twenty-five percent of senior citizens fall annually. A fall is not a minor accident for the elderly. Over 2.8 million injuries stemming from falls are treated in emergency rooms every year. More than 800,000 people 65 or over are hospitalized every year due to falls.

Sadly, falls cause more than 27,000 deaths every year among senior citizens. That’s one death every 19 minutes.

While falls strike the elderly disproportionately, the second and third leading cause of injuries and deaths in the elderly are also issues for the population as a whole.

#2. Heart Disease

The second leading cause of death in the elderly is heart disease, including strokes, arrhythmias, and heart attacks. Senior citizens need to eat healthily and exercise regularly to keep heart disease at bay.

#3. Cancer

The third leading cause of death is cancer. The elderly are at higher risk for cancer, although there is no current general agreement about what contributes to the higher risk. Breast cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer are three of the most common cancers across all age groups.

Preventive measures can help increase your chances of not getting cancer, including regular screenings for breast and colon cancer after the age of 50 and, for lung cancer, not smoking or quitting if smoking is a habit.

Your Recourse in a Slip and Fall Accident

If you or an older loved one has slipped and fallen due to the actions of another, contact Louisiana slip and fall lawyer Bart Bernard to see if you are eligible to bring a suit for damages. The law in Louisiana holds that another party was negligent if a situation would be recognized by a reasonable person as clearly dangerous, the other party had a responsibility to keep the area where the accident took place safe, knew the situation was dangerous, had time to rectify the situation, and did not do so.

So, for example, if an elderly person slipped and fell in a store in which milk had been spilled but not cleaned up properly, the owners of the store could be liable. The situation is clearly dangerous, the store owners have a duty to make it safe, and did not.

Do You Need an Attorney Experienced in Slip and Fall Accidents?

The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers is seasoned in litigating slip and fall accidents. Slip and falls harm far too many senior citizens in Louisiana. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a fall, don’t delay — make sure you take full advantage of your legal right to compensation!

Your initial consultation is completely free of charge. We charge no fees unless we win money for you. Call or contact us online today!

More Resources on the Dangers of Falls for the Elderly:

  1. National Council on Aging. Fall Prevention Facts. https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/
  2. United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls Are Leading Cause of Injury and Death in Older Americans. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0922-older-adult-falls.html
  3. Very Well. Top Health Conditions for Adults Over 65. https://www.verywell.com/top-causes-of-death-among-adults-over-65-2967470.

How to Fix a Pothole – and Why You Should

November 2, 2017 Slip And Fall Injuries 0 Comments

asphalt parking lot potholes and damageLouisiana’s pothole problem is no secret; at least one online drivers’ magazine has listed New Orleans among the top 10 American “worst pothole cities”.

Potholes do not appear instantaneously. As the physical damage grows, so does the cost of repair. For business properties containing an asphalt parking lot, early maintenance and repair can save significant time and money.

What causes potholes?

Timing is everything. The pressure of traffic causes the cracks that lead to potholes, and that allows water penetration of the asphalt. As the temperature naturally fluctuates throughout the year, the water expands and contracts, causing bits of pavement to pop out.

The sponge-like terrain underlying the roads and parking lots of Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and other Louisiana cities amplifies the problem because it allows shifting and settling of the surface. If cracks are not addressed in time, then the potholes will need to be filled.

How to prevent and repair potholes

Best practices to limit pothole damage include:

Seal cracks

Take action in fair weather to fill in any cracks and prevent extensive water intrusion. The method will depend on the size and extent of cracks; many hairline cracks may need a fluid surface seal while larger cracks first need to be cleaned and then coated with a thicker sealant.

Fill potholes

If the parking lot or driveway is in reasonably good condition, it may pay to do a DIY repair. It is not as complicated as it sounds but may be better left to professionals in larger cases:

  • Clean the loose debris out of the holes
  • Remove any vegetation from the area
  • If the hole is deeper than the asphalt, hitting the ground underneath, you may need some dirt, sand, or gravel at the bottom of the hole
  • Heat the inside of the hole – a flame torch will come in handy – to prepare it to accept the patch
  • Pour cold asphalt into the hole, being sure to overfill 1-2”
  • Use a tamping tool to compress the asphalt, adding more cold asphalt it compresses below the surface

Consider a resurface

If the surface is old or in poor condition, a patchy repair may not hold up for long. In that case, it is a good idea to consult with a professional about options such as resurfacing.

The dangers of potholes

As commonplace as potholes may seem, they are a significant cause of injuries. According to federal statistics, more than one in every five emergency room visits is caused by a fall, including a significant proportion of slip and falls. Of slip and fall situations, more than half are due to wet or uneven walking surfaces such as potholes.

In some cases, a slip or trip may lead to minor injuries, but they can also be serious. They can include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Fractures
  • Head injuries
  • Shoulder injuries

When deciding whether to take action regarding a pothole, weighing the potential damage may help put things into perspective.

For those facing the recovery of a an injury involving a pothole, it helps to have the advice of an experienced Louisiana slip and fall lawyer. The Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers, with offices in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, expertly asserts the rights of personal injury victims. Call today to speak with a dedicated legal representative.

Additional “Pothole Repair” Resources:

  1. Asphalt Magazine, Preventing and repairing potholes and pavement cracks, http://asphaltmagazine.com/preventing-and-repairing-potholes-and-pavement-cracks/
  2. Newswheel, 10 Worst Pothole Cities in America: New Orleans, http://thenewswheel.com/10-worst-pothole-cities-in-america/#New-Orleans
  3. National Floor Safety Institute, Slip & Fall Quick Facts, https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/

Who Can I Sue After a Fall on a Public Sidewalk?

April 20, 2017 Slip And Fall Injuries 0 Comments

caution wet floor sign at a corridorMany Louisiana residents are unaware of their legal rights if they are injured in a situation involving a municipality. An example would be a case against the city of Baton Rouge for an injury caused by a fall on a public sidewalk. Imagine you’re strolling to meet friends for lunch in the downtown area. You are a few minutes late and pressed for time, but are still mindful of your surroundings. Despite being careful, you trip on a deep crack in the sidewalk and the fall takes you down hard. You instinctively put out your arm to cushion your fall, and in the process fracture your wrist and several bones in your hand. You also twist your left ankle badly.

X-rays pinpoint the bone fractures, and thousands of dollars later, you’re still in a cast and saddled with hospital and medical bills. Who is responsible for the defective sidewalk that caused your injuries, and can you sue for monetary compensation? While it’s true that government entities are responsible for the upkeep of hundreds of square feet of public sidewalks, they also create regulations to protect themselves against frivolous lawsuits.

Who is liable in a public sidewalk slip and fall?

If you are harmed because of a trip or fall on a public sidewalk, most states have strict deadlines for pursuing an injury claim against a local municipality. There may also be a limit on your potential recovery, meriting an immediate consultation with a qualified slip and fall attorney.

Slip and fall claims are typically filed under theories of premises liability. Injuries are suffered because of the negligent maintenance or unsafe condition of the property in question – whether it’s a sidewalk, a parking lot, a stairwell or an interior floor. While a sidewalk fall may not appear serious, they can have life-altering consequences, leaving victims with broken bones, spinal cord damage, and permanent hip and knee injuries.

Premises liability claims may be challenging because there are several elements which need to be established. If you are severely hurt due to a defect or poorly maintained public sidewalk – one that your local municipality neglected to fix– you may have a viable claim for damages.

Burden of liability may rest with the municipality

A lot will depend on the circumstances and location of the accident. For instance, if the patrons of a retail establishment are the sole individuals who regularly use a city-maintained sidewalk, the business owner might share some legal responsibility in its maintenance. The courts may favor the plaintiff in claims where obvious hazards, such as uneven segments, holes and other defects, have been observed but not repaired.

With competent legal counsel, victims may be able to argue that the liability resulting from a defect in a public sidewalk lies with the municipality, or a private property owner. Compensation may be awarded if the courts find that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care in the proper upkeep of the sidewalk, or left the dangerous condition as is, despite an unreasonable risk of harm to pedestrians. In situations where a city has been notified multiple times of dangerous sidewalk defects but neglected to take action, victims may have a much stronger chance of winning money damages.

Protecting your rights after an accident

If you have been hurt on a public sidewalk in Louisiana and need the guidance of an experienced Lafayette slip and fall lawyer, Bart Bernard can help you achieve justice. Do not hesitate to contact our Baton Rouge or Lafayette, Louisiana offices with any questions. For a free case evaluation, call today.

Additional “Public Sidewalk Slip and Fall” Resources:

  1. Case Western Law Review, Liability of a Municipality for Defective Sidewalks http://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3737&context=caselrev
  2. Louisiana State Legislature, RS 13:5109 https://legis.la.gov/Legis/Law.aspx?d=77941