This month is National Safety Month, and during this time of year, the National Safety Council supports a month-long awareness campaign to educate Americans about important safety topics, including falls. As one of the leading causes of unintentional injury and death in the U.S., especially among older adults and individuals employed in certain industries (such as construction), falls are a significant danger people of all ages face virtually anywhere they go. As such, learning more about these accidents, where they commonly occur and how, and taking steps to prevent them is crucial.
At Leonard Law Group, our Chicago attorneys have worked with many victims who suffered injuries in fall accidents, as well as families to have lost loved ones to fatal falls. Having seen these accidents and the many forms they can take, we wanted to do our part in honoring National Safety Month by providing a few important fall prevention safety tips:
- In the Home – Many falls occur in the home, which is why taking steps to address potential hazards in your house can help protect yourself and your loved ones. This includes clearing out clutter that may pose tripping hazards, and being vigilant of any debris, exposed cords or wires, uneven floors or rugs, a lack of sufficient lighting, and other trip and fall dangers that commonly exist in homes. For those who live with older adults (who face the greatest risks of falling and suffering injuries), taking steps to prevent falls may require more action, such as installing handrails and grab bars near stairs and in bathrooms and bathtubs and providing them with assistive walking or stability devices when necessary.
- In the Workplace – Falls remain one of the leading causing of work-related injuries and deaths, which is why employees and employers alike should take steps to ensure the safety of their worksites. Address any all potential hazards that may exist, from open holes and crumbling steps to exposed wiring, abandoned tools, debris, and other hazards that may cause workers to slip, trip, or fall. When working from heights, safety always needs to be a priority, which means ensuring any step-stools, ladders, scaffolding, and other equipment are in proper working order, and that they are used in compliance with safety standards, such as using any required restraint systems, working with partners, and more.
Fall Accidents: Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Claims
While some falls may be the result of our own mistakes or misfortune and allow for little more than learning a lesson (i.e. moving that piece of furniture out of the walkway), others may give rise to personal injury or workers’ compensation claims. Depending on the circumstances involved, injured victims and workers may have the right to seek compensation and financial benefits after suffering harm in a fall accident. For example:
Personal Injury Lawsuits – Victims injured in falls may have the right to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recover their damages when their injuries were caused by another’s negligence. There may be many types of fall accidents that give rise to liability in personal injury cases, including those involving:
- Falls in nursing homes or assisted living facilities
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents caused by the negligent property owners who failed to address potential hazards they knew or should have known about, including debris, wet or slippery floors, and insufficient lighting, among others
- Falls resulting from defective products or equipment, such as a defective step-stool or ladder
- Falls on worksites resulting from the negligence of a third party contractor (third party liability)
In these types of situations, victims will need to prove that another’s negligence more likely than not caused their accidents and injuries if they are to have a successful personal injury claim. Although the facts may be unique, this can generally involve a defendant that did not uphold its legal obligations, such as the legal obligations of a product manufacturer to ensure the safety of its products, or the duty of care property owners owed to visitors and guests that were injured in fall accidents involving hazards the property owner failed to remedy.
Workers’ Compensation Claims – Workers’ compensation claims are filed by workers who suffer injuries on the job, and unlike personal injury cases, they do not require fault in order for victims to recover needed benefits, including medical benefits and wage supplementation when injuries prevent them from working. Workplace fall accidents may involve a range of factors, including workers who slip, trip, or fall on potential hazards (created by themselves or by others), and workers who fall while working from heights, including work performed on ladders or scaffolding.
Our legal team can assist injured workers in navigating their journey toward the benefits they deserve, including assistance with both initial applications and any appeals that may arise when workers disagree with determinations made in their cases. In some situations, we can also help injured workers pursue personal injury cases when their injuries involve third party liability, such as when a negligent contractor (who is not the worker’s employer) causes a fall accident and subsequent injuries.
Learn More About Your Rights After a Fall Accident
Leonard Law Group is readily available to help victims throughout Chicago and the surrounding areas of Illinois following all types of fall accidents – whether they occur in the home due to defective products, on another’s property, or on a worksite. We are also available to help families in the wake of tragic fatalities caused by falls, and can provide guidance through wrongful death lawsuits or workers’ compensation cases involving survivor’s benefits.
If you would like more information about your rights after a fall accident, do not hesitate to reach out for the experience, caring, and compassionate legal support you deserve. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.