Slip and Fall Accidents
Did you know that one of the leading causes of injury and accidental death in New Mexico is slip and fall accidents? Sometimes people make light of that phrase – slip and fall – envisioning an older person who has accidentally tripped and landed on their backs on a sidewalk. Slip and fall accidents can be more serious than most people realize, and no one is immune to the risk. They also are one of the top reasons for premises liability lawsuits in Albuquerque.
New Mexico has a lot of things to be proud of, including our beautiful state parks and our award-winning tacos. Unfortunately, our state also leads the nation in deaths and unintentional injuries suffered in slip and fall accidents. That is not exactly something to boast about on tourist advertisements and bumper stickers.
Slippery surfaces, such as recently-mopped floors, can cause us to easily end up on our bottoms. While our pride and posteriors may be bruised, these kinds of slips and falls do not usually cause lasting pain or suffering for healthy individuals. Older adults always run the risk of broken bones due to their age and the likelihood of having osteoporosis.
There are other kinds of falls that cause the kinds of injuries that temporarily or permanently disable someone. Slipping at the top of a flight of stairs and tumbling all the way to the bottom can lead to multiple injuries or even death. Inadequate outdoor lighting could cause an individual to fall into a pothole, trench, or ditch. Damaged sidewalks are always a risk, especially in wet weather.
Some pretty serious injuries can occur.
- Soft tissue injuries include things like sprained ankles and wrists to torn ligaments. Some people do not even realize they have a soft tissue injury until days after a fall. It is important to receive treatment for these kinds of injuries, as they can cause chronic pain if they fail to heal properly.
- Broken bones are a common injury sustained in slip and fall accidents. Wrists, ankles, and hips are most vulnerable to breakages during a fall. The older the person is, the more likely they are to break a bone during a fall. Age and fragility have nothing to do with legal standing when it comes to filing a slip and fall claim.
- Hip fractures are prevalent in slip and fall accidents. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites 95 percent of broken hips in the U.S. are from falls. Surgical intervention and hospitalization are required to repair hip fractures, which can lead to exhaustive medical bills for some victims. Those expenses can be recouped through a slip and fall claim.
- Shoulder and neck injuries also are common in slip and fall accidents. They can occur when the victim lands on their neck or shoulder after falling, or from the overexertion of trying to “catch” yourself from falling. Some require surgery, while others can lead to chronic pain and suffering.
- Knee injuries happen if a victim twists their leg while tripping or falling. They also can happen if a person lands directly on their knee hard after a fall. Sometimes knee injuries require surgery to repair. They can cause chronic pain and suffering.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are one of the most serious injuries that can occur during a slip and fall accident. Striking the front or back of the skull on the ground or another object while falling is usually the cause. If a person is lucky, they may only experience a mild concussion. Others might suffer from skull fractures, hemorrhaging, and hematomas. With the exception of concussions, most TBIs require brain surgery to treat.
- Spinal cord injuries can cause partial or total paralysis and sometimes even death. More than 25 percent of all spinal cord injuries are caused by falls, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The sooner victims of slip-and-fall accidents consult with an experienced attorney the better. Our team of highly skilled lawyers at Cameron & Russell can intervene with insurance adjusters and at-fault persons to ensure victims can focus on what is most important: healing from their injuries. We offer a no-obligation consultation to review your case and will provide guidance on the next steps if you opt to pursue a slip and fall claim. Depending on whether the accident happened on a residential property or at a commercially owned building, clients will be advised on whether a personal injury lawsuit or a premises liability lawsuit is the best approach.
Most slip-and-fall cases are settled out of court in New Mexico. If your case manages to see the inside of a courtroom, New Mexico law allows for the application of the Pure Comparative Negligence Rule. This means, if both parties are found to be at fault, they will share the cost of damages awarded.
Attorneys can seek damages to cover:
- Medical costs associated with any injuries received in the slip and fall accident
- Lost wages due to time off work to recover
- Chronic pain and suffering due to injuries sustained
- Compensation for permanent disability as a result of the fall
As with other personal injury lawsuits, claimants have three years from the date of injury to file a civil suit. Failure to file by the deadline means the defendant will have an easier time requesting the courts dismiss the case. At Cameron & Russell, we make sure to file on time so our clients can get the compensation they deserve.