Anyone who has ever been seriously injured in a slip and fall mishap already understands the great personal cost this type of accident can have: you may have been faced with steep medical bills, forced to take time off of work, and experienced intense pain and suffering. But the high price (both literally and figuratively) of slip and fall injuries doesn’t just stop with the injured parties: slip and fall accidents affect the injured party’s family, co-workers, employer, and the US economy as a whole.
Adding Up the Cost of Slip and Fall Accidents
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that slip and fall accidents are by far the most common type of workplace accident. The BLS estimates that collectively, 95 million days of work are lost due to serious slip and fall injuries (accounting for an astounding 65% of all lost work days). There are an estimated 9 million slip and fall injuries per year, or about 25,000 per day. Each injury costs an average of $20,228 in medical expenses, lost income, replacement workers if the injured party must stop work for a long period of time, and other associated costs. That comes out to about $60 billion (yes, billion with a “B”) in slip and fall expenses every year. That’s a hefty fee for accidents that are largely preventable.
Preventing Slip and Fall Injuries Is Cheaper than Treating Them
Nobody wants to pay the price of a slip and fall injury, and the benefits of taking measures to prevent slip and fall accidents far outweighs the costs of implementing those measures. Since many slip and fall accidents take place in either the injured party’s workplace or another place of business (such as a restaurant, store, or hotel), all business owners need to monitor and address potential slipping and tripping hazards as they come up. Restaurant owners need to be particularly attentive, as the food service industry accounts for 4 million slip and fall injuries (3 million employees and 1 million guests) every year. Business owners and their staff should:
Clean up any spills as soon as they occur. Whether it’s a gallon of spilled milk in a grocery store or a spilled pitcher of water at a restaurant, staff should be trained to monitor the building and clean up liquid spills as soon as they occur in order to prevent people from slipping on the slick surface.
Clear common walking paths. Hallways and other areas that employees and guests commonly walk through need to be clear of things like open drawers, cables, and loose rugs or torn carpets. If it’s absolutely necessary to run cables across a walking area, they should be taped down and highly visible. Restaurant owners should be sure that there are clear walking paths that are wide enough for the wait staff to carry dishes through even when all the tables are full.
Take employee or customer comments on tripping hazards seriously. Business owners have a duty of care to both customers and employees on their premises, so if someone mentions that they almost fell on a hard-to-see step or worries about walking down a dimly lit staircase, it’s that business owner’s responsibility to promptly resolve the issue or talk to the building owner to ensure that it’s resolved (if they’re renting the workspace).
Hold negligent property owners responsible. If you are someone who was unfortunately injured because a property owner failed to take reasonable measures to prevent a slip and fall accident, contact a personal injury lawyer today to learn what you can do. Holding negligent property owners accountable may help prevent future slip and fall accidents and reduce the staggering price of this type of injury.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphey. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”