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We handle a number of slip and fall cases in our office, but we also have to turn down a lot more. The reality is that the courts can be very hostile to the claims. Through summery judgment, we have seen a number of very good claims be thrown out of court. In some cases, later upheld on appeal.

The defense is that the danger was in a situation where the reason for the fall should have been seen (open and obvious) or that the person who fell is really at fault (assumed the risk). It always puzzles me when the business owner who is there every day is found to have fulfilled their cleaning, shoveling, or fixing job well enough for the public they are making money from, while at the same time, the danger is found so clear that the first time visitor should see it. The reality being if they would have seen it and understood what could happen, the person would have avoided it. People don't just want to injure themselves by falling or jumping down holes.

I was especially interested in a recent post by New York Attorney/ Blogger Eric Turkewitz about trip and falls. He linked to a video that is really worth watching.

The thoughts the video raises for me are:

– Watch each person trip and see how they immediately try to shrug it off and don't want to look stupid. I am reminded of a client who shattered her leg in a fall at the grocery store and one of the defenses was, "Well how bad was she hurt, she kept trying to get up?" People are all embarrassed when they fall.

– Look at how just a simple alteration made such a difference for the ability of so many to walk up stairs. Most cases being people going up stairs no different than they do on any other day.

– How the same problem can be left alone or ignored until something tragic happens or someone takes the time to sit and figure out what is going on. It is the advantage that an experienced lawyer can give a person by knowing where to look and what questions to ask.

Madeline Johnson also passed on through an email a good looking website for slip and fall information.

The long term goal in so many of these cases to to prevent what happened from happening again. The insurance company will force something to be fixed to save future money. But, the best benefit is to save that future person from never having to care about that eventual walk up the stairs.

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