Slips, Trips & Falls - Frequently Asked Questions

March 21, 2019

 

What’s the difference between a trip, a slip and a fall?

 

Slips occur when there is a lack of grip between an individual’s footwear and the surface they are walking on. This is usually caused by water, ice, oil, grease or some other type of liquid being present on the floor.

 

Trips occur when the foot hits an object in its path preventing it from moving forward. Examples of hazards that may lead to a trip are:

  • A raised paving stone or exposed tree roots

  • Loose carpet, uneven carpet tiles or unsecured carpet rods or joints

  • Unsecured wires and cables

  • Boxes, bags or pallets

  • Discarded tools or equipment

 

Falls – there are two main types of fall, same level falls and falls from height. Same level falls generally occur as a result of uneven walking surfaces such as potholes whereas falls from height tend to involve roofs, ladders or scaffolding.

 

What type of slip, trip or fall gives rise to a claim?

 

When you walk along a street, visit a business premises or attend another person’s home, you have a right to expect that the area is safe and free from anything that might cause you to suffer an injury. We know however that this is not always the case.

 

In our experience, the most common causes of trips and falls are defects on the ground such as potholes, raised paving stones or uneven ground. These types of accidents often happen in high streets or on footpaths that are maintained by the council. As such, the council have a responsibility to make sure that a reasonable inspection system in place and that any defects picked up in these inspections is repaired as soon as possible.

 

Trips, slips and falls can also occur on private property such as a supermarket, restaurants, bars and cafes. Whether you slipped on a wet surface or tripped over exposed wires the owner and/or occupier of the premises owes a duty of care to all lawful visitors under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 requiring them to take reasonable steps to prevent such incidents from occurring. If it can be shown that the owner or occupier didn’t take the reasonable steps to prevent your accident from occurring then you are likely to have a strong claim for compensation.

 

How do I go about making a claim?

 

During our free initial consultation, we'll gather as much information about your accident as possible in order to work out who is responsible for the accident and the extent of your injuries and losses. We’ll also take the time to establish any rehabilitation needs you may have and assist with getting any treatment you require as soon as possible.

 

With your assistance we’ll identify the exact location in which your accident happened in order to identify the individual or organisation responsible for the area in which your accident occurred. Before submitting your claim, we will gather as much evidence as possible in support of your claim to maximise the chances of securing an admission of liability from the party at fault.

 

In the vast majority of cases the compensation amount you receive will be agreed with your opponent once your medical evidence has been finalised and we’ve gathered all the information needed to support your financial losses. Where it isn’t possible to reach an agreement, the case will need to go to court for a judge to make a final decision on the compensation you’ll receive. If this happens we’ll guide and support you every step of the way.

What information do I need to provide to you about the accident?

 

We’ll need to know exactly where the accident happened, what caused the accident and whether the accident was reported to anyone.

 

It is always helpful if clients can provide us with a photograph or a sketch plan that shows us exactly where the accident happened and whether any defect is present that they may have caused the accident. Don’t worry if you haven’t been able to obtain photographs, in most instances we can usually overcome this hurdle.

 

How long will my claim take?

 

There are two main factors that affect the duration of your claim:

 

1. Whether or not the third party admits liability for the accident

2. The extent of your injuries and how long it will take for you to recover

 

If liability is admitted swiftly and your injuries are limited to a relatively minor soft tissue injury or similar, then your claim could be settled within a matter of a few short months. However, if you have suffered more complex injuries and treatment is required to facilitate your recovery, it is likely your claim will take longer to conclude as more medical evidence will have to be obtained before we can accurately value your claim and commence settlement negotiations.

How much compensation will I receive?

 

It’s extremely difficult to predict exactly how much compensation you will receive for your claim right from the very outset. People often think that certain injuries will automatically attract a specific amount of compensation but when you make a claim your pain and suffering, treatment, recovery time and any financial impact are all taken into account. For that reason, we can only provide a truly accurate valuation of your claim once your medical evidence is finalised, your treatment is completed and all your financial losses have been documented and calculated.

Our Compensation Calculator will give you a projected value for a wide variety of injuries and may therefore help you to understand the way in which injuries are valued by solicitors, insurance companies and courts. Unfortunately, no compensation calculator cannot provide you with an accurate valuation of your compensation award simply because we need to know all the critical aspects of your individual case to be able to accurately assess the compensation due to you. However, entering your injury details in our Compensation Calculator may just help you to decide whether or not you wish to pursue a claim.

Do I have to attend a medical examination?

 

If you've been injured as a result of a slip, trip or fall we recommend that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Many people choose to self-medicate particularly if their injuries appear minor, however your injuries could be more serious than they first appear so it is always best to get them checked by a medical professional.

 

During the course of the claim you will also need to attend an examination with an independent medical expert. This is something we will arrange on your behalf and usually takes place within a short distance of your home or work address.

 

The medical examination will enable the independent medical expert to create a detailed report which will help us to determine the extent of your injuries and the impact they have had on you. The medical report is crucial to your case and enables us to accurately value your compensation claim.

What financial losses can I recover?

 

In addition to your injury compensation, known as general damages, you can also recover any out of pocket expenses caused directly by the accident. These items are collectively referred to as special damages.

 

The most common financial losses included in a slip or trip accident claim are:

 

· Treatment Costs

· Prescription or Over the Counter Medication Charges

· Loss of Earnings

· Damage to Personal Property

· Travel Expenses

 

Any financial losses claimed have to be supported by documentary evidence such as receipts or invoices. Our solicitors will help you collate a list of your financial losses and assist you in gathering any evidence needed to support these losses to ensure that you are not out of pocket as a result of your accident.

 

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