Summer is the time for having fun and going on vacation. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on many activities, but now, Americans are itching to get away and spend time outdoors. Whether it is swimming, boating, hiking, or just walking outside in a nearby park, exploring new and potentially unfamiliar terrain presents its own set of tripping hazards. Knowing the causes of summer slip and fall accidents can help individuals avoid injury. This is of particular importance to older adults who may be more likely to break bones and suffer additional complications from falling.
Slip and Fall Hazards Unique to Summer
Emergency room visits tend to spike in the beginning of summer when people are finally able do yard work or other fun activities that they could not do during the winter. According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, falls are among the top 12 causes of summer emergency room visits. As summer approaches, it is important to keep in mind where slip and fall accidents are most likely to occur during the hot weather. They include the following:
- Swimming pools and lakes
- Hiking trails
Summer footwear can also be a contributing factor in a slip and fall accident. Although injuries tend to be more serious when falling from heights greater than six feet, any type of slip and fall accident can land someone in the emergency room.
Swimming Pools and Lakes
There are multiple slip and fall hazards associated with swimming pools. Pool aprons and other surfaces near the pool are usually wet. Slipping on a cement pool apron can cause serious injury, while falling into the pool creates the risk of drowning. Sudden summer storms can also make surfaces very slippery. Diving boards can be slick if they are older and worn down, or not made of the right material.
In addition to the areas immediately surrounding a pool, the floors of bathrooms and snack bars can be hazardous when patrons track in water or spill suntan lotion. If surfaces are not cleaned regularly, mold or algae can make the situation even more dangerous.
Outdoor lakes may have wooden landings or docks subject to dry rot. This condition is caused by fungus that grows in moist conditions, penetrating deep into the wood. This can damage the structure’s integrity, potentially causing it to give way and collapse, causing a fall. To reduce one’s risk of slipping and falling around swimming areas, walk slowly on pool aprons or lake docks. When wearing shoes or swim socks, make sure they have traction.
Slippery surfaces abound in a waterpark. At the same time, waterpark owners are responsible for making sure their facilities are as safe as possible. This includes regular cleaning to prohibit the growth of mold and mildew. Water-borne pathogens can quickly grow if surfaces are not sanitized properly. Waterpark owners are also responsible for installing non-slip surfaces to prevent falls. Waterparks should include adequate signage warning guests of slipping hazards and advise them of safety procedures.
When on a boat, it may be impossible to avoid wet surfaces and unpredictable rocking due to waves. Slipping and falling is definitely a risk, whether on a large yacht or a small fishing charter. However, boats should include safety features, such as hand railings and non-slip flooring to help reduce the likelihood of injury. Boat owners who fail to include or maintain these types of features could potentially be held liable if passengers or crew slip and suffer serious harm. Other potential acts of negligence on a boat may include the following:
- Allowing too many passengers to board the boat
- Failing to instruct passengers about the safety features of the boat
- Failing to warn passengers about risks of overcrowding on the bow or the sides
- Taking passengers out on rough seas
If an individual is injured on a boat, notify the captain immediately. It is the captain’s responsibility to make sure first aid is available and to call for medical help if needed. If possible, take photos of the accident area, including any signage. Note the time and the weather conditions as well. This will be especially important if an individual chooses to file a personal injury claim in the future. Because it is not unusual for passengers on a fishing charter or sightseeing yacht to be consuming alcohol, an insurance company may assume that drinking played a factor in the accident. If patrons are fairly far out at sea and injuries warrant evacuation by helicopter, bear in mind that this costs thousands of dollars and may not be covered by a health insurance plan. Filing a personal injury claim may allow an individual to obtain compensation for that expense.
There are many beautiful hiking trails within a few hours’ drive of northern and central New Jersey, including the Appalachian Trail and numerous state and county parks. The hiking terrain can be challenging, with steep inclines that traverse rocks and paths with protruding tree roots and downed branches. Tripping hazards abound in the woods, especially after a rainstorm. To reduce the risk of slipping and falling on the trail, always wear sturdy, well-fitting hiking shoes with comfortable socks. A good set of hiking poles can make all the difference, especially when going up and down hills. Take along a first-aid kit that includes an elastic bandage, as well as other typical medical supplies.
As comfortable and casual as flip flops may appear, they are not sturdy. Flip-flops and sandals are much less secure and lack traction. If an individual slips and falls while wearing summer footwear, it may be viewed as a contributing factor to the injury, potentially putting them at a disadvantage in filing a personal injury claim.
Types of Injuries Caused by Summer Slip and Fall Accidents
Most slip and fall injuries involve slipping backward or forward. If one falls forward, they are more likely to attempt to brace a fall with their hands, thereby injuring the wrists or arms. Broken arms, as well as shoulder injuries, cuts, and bruises, are common when falling forward. Falling backward may cause more serious injuries, including the following:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
Serious injuries such as these may happen in the summer around swimming pools. Twisting while falling, or falling on one’s side, can cause knee injuries, sprained ankles, and soft tissue injuries. This can easily happen while hiking or when wearing summer footwear.
Liability for a Slip and Fall Injury
It is often difficult to prove that the owner of the premises on which one fell is liable for any injuries. A skilled personal injury lawyer knows how to assess whether a slip and fall case is worth pursuing. To prove liability, a plaintiff must show that a dangerous condition existed on the property and directly caused or contributed to the injury. The plaintiff must also show that the owner of the premises was or should have been aware of the danger but failed to address it. Addressing the danger may include posting warning signs or caution tape in lieu of fixing the problem. In that case, the victim may be responsible for being aware of the danger and acting accordingly. Also, victims who were running on slippery surfaces near pools, engaging in raucous behavior, or texting while walking may be held liable for their own injuries.
When injured in a summer slip and fall accident, reach out to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can help victims collect and interpret evidence, get in touch with witnesses, evaluate medical bills, and calculate compensation that may be due, including payment for lost wages and pain and suffering.
Freehold Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Obtain Maximum Compensation for Slip and Fall Injuries
If you have been seriously injured in a summer slip and fall accident, you may have a legitimate personal injury claim if the owner of the premises failed to properly maintain the property on which you fell. The Freehold slip and fall accident lawyers at Ellis Law have many years of experience building successful personal injury claims and negotiating with insurers to obtain maximum compensation for clients. For a free consultation, call us today at 732-308-0200 or contact us online.
Headquartered in Freehold, New Jersey, we offer virtual consultations at no charge to clients in East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, New Jersey, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.