Slip and fall accidents are no joke. One minute you’re at your favorite sporting event, the next minute you’re in the emergency room having your injuries treated. The thing about slip and fall accidents is that they can happen to anyone at any time.
Who is responsible for a slip and fall accident and what sorts of injuries can happen? These are all common questions that people have when they consider the potential of a slip and fall. Today we are going to discuss just how prevalent slip and fall accidents are, the injuries you may sustain and tips to avoid slip and fall injuries in the first place.
What is a Slip and Fall Incident?
A slip and fall or trip and fall accident occurs when a person falls and injures themselves on the premises of another. In other words, if you are on someone else’s property, such as a store, in a parking lot, or even inside a football stadium and you slip, fall and wind up with injuries, this is a slip and fall incident.
In most cases, the slip and fall is the result of some form of negligence on the part of the property owner and they are responsible for your injuries. Negligence comes in many forms, forgetting to change faulty lighting, leaving a walkway or area full of clutter or disrepair, improper signage, and just general lack of care or maintenance can all result in slip and fall incidents.
Common Injuries Caused by Falls
There are a plethora of different injuries a person can suffer as a result of a slip and fall. Here are just a few examples.
Falling onto a hard surface can easily result in a broken bone. Depending on how you fall and the surface that you land on it’s easy to suffer a broken leg, ankle, arm, or worse. Stadiums are filled with hard floors and other surfaces that can easily fracture one of the bones in our body and since most slip and falls come out of nowhere and we have no way to protect ourselves, injuries like this can be quite common.
Neck injuries are almost always serious. Unlike sprains and broken bones, neck injuries sometimes never heal. Falling just right and injuring your neck can cause lifelong problems including muscle weakness and paralysis. This is one of the reasons why slip and fall incidents can be so dangerous.
Head Injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries
The worst thing that can happen if you have a fall is to land on your head. A blow to the back of the head can easily cause a concussion and depending on the force of the trauma to the head, you could end up with a traumatic brain injury, just from a slip and fall. Even a minor blow to the head from a fall can result in lifelong brain injuries that require medical treatment and rehab.
Cuts, Bruises, and Lacerations
When you have a sudden slip and fall, you don’t have any control over what you may land on or what you may hit while falling. This means that any sharp or pointed surfaces, as well as anything in your path that may break when you fall, has the potential to leave you with cuts, bruises, and lacerations.
Even if you don’t suffer a broken bone or other injury, you can still suffer very serious damage to your joints. Landing on your knee or shoulder could require surgery. A sudden jerk or twist while you are falling could throw your hip or knee out of alignment and require weeks or months of treatment just to be able to walk again.
These are just a few examples of some of the many ways you can be hurt in a slip and fall accident.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur at Football Stadiums
Accidents at football stadiums can occur much like in other places, due to neglect.
Wet and slippery floors are one of the most common reasons that people fall. While we want the floors to be clean, forgetting to dry a slick floor or place wet floor signs is how people get hurt. Similarly, debris left on the ground or in the middle of a walkway makes it easier to slip and fall. Recently, multiple fans attending a College Football Championship game between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs suffered falls during heavy rainfall. Multiple victims were stretchered out of the stadium.
Another common source of accidents is poor lighting. It takes a lot to keep a stadium in good shape, but one light fixture that goes out can make it difficult to see and can result in someone falling and hurting themselves. Damage to walkways or stairways that makes them unsafe is another way that people can suffer slip and fall accidents.
Has a Football Player Ever Been Injured in a Stadium Slip and Fall Accident?
One of the best to ever play the game had his career ended due to a slip and fall accident at a football stadium. Former running back Reggie Bush was playing a game when his momentum carried him off the field and to an area of the stadium where unprotected concrete was exposed, Reggie subsequently slipped and fell as he tried to stop himself and tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. This injury would end his football career.
The team that played at the stadium would ultimately be found liable for allowing such dangerous conditions to exist and Bush would be awarded $12.5 million in damages. This has since caused teams and stadium owners throughout the NFL to reevaluate the conditions of their stadiums and the safety of both patrons and players.
Who Can Be Held Responsible For Stadium Fall Injuries?
Liability in a stadium slip and fall accident can be complicated. There are several parties that may be held responsible. If the fault lies with the stadium itself, meaning that you were injured as a result of something wrong with the stadium, such as a broken light causing you to slip in a dark area and become injured, then the stadium owner would be liable.
Say that same injury occurred, but was the result of tripping over a hot dog vendor’s cart. This would then be the fault of the third party hot dog vendor. If you are injured as a result of another fan at the stadium, then the fault would lie with them. So, as you can see, figuring out who may be responsible in your case is not always cut and dry.
How Can Slip and Fall Injuries Be Prevented at Football Games?
For stadium owners, it is not too hard to keep these types of slip and fall accidents from happening. Here are some tips to help prevent further accidents.
- Keep Walkways, Stairs, and Other Paths Clean
One of the most obvious reasons for slip and falls is due to clutter or difficulty accessing walkways in a stadium. On game days there are lots of people present and that means they need proper room to move around. Keeping all walkable areas free of dirt, debris, and clutter will make things safer for everyone.
- Keep Floors and Surfaces Dry and Clean Up Spills Immediately
Wet surfaces are the enemy of safety. If you notice that there has been a spill, it’s important to put out the proper signage and get the spill cleaned up immediately. The longer a floor stays wet, the more of a risk for injury.
- Keep The Stadium in Good Repair
Broken lighting and other equipment just makes it harder for people to get where they are going and increases the likelihood of a slip and fall or other type of accident. Keep up to date on the basics and reduce the risk of accidents year round.
- Use Rugs to Keep Pathways Slip Resistant
You can’t catch everything all the time, but one way that you can ensure that patrons don’t fall at the stadium is by installing slip resistant rugs and other floor coverings so that surfaces are easier to walk on, even in the event of a spill or some other damage.
Stadium slip and fall accidents can be life altering for the victim. No matter how athletic or skilled you are, you could still suffer a slip and fall and be seriously injured. Thankfully, for stadium owners that want to avoid these types of accidents, it’s so easy to keep patrons safe and allow them to enjoy the game without worrying about getting injured. Keep things in good repair, follow proper safety procedures and keep things clean and this will help avoid most slip and fall accidents.