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Slip and fall could result in lawsuit against public agency

It has happened to us all at one point in time; a stumble down an ill-maintained stairway, a trip over an uneven surface, a slip on a wet or icy floor. This seemingly simple occurrence can have a variety of results -- anything ranging from simply feeling embarrassed to an extremely serious injury. These are just a few examples of conditions that can set the stage for a slip and fall in the workplace and beyond.

A woman was walking through a plaza, owned by a city urban renewal agency, toward New Year's Eve festivities when she slipped and fell on the ice. The woman broke her ankle, requiring her to undergo surgery and other extensive medical treatment. She has now filed a notice of tort claim, indicating she plans to sue the public agency.

The amount of damages sought are unknown, but they are expected to be greater than $100,000.

Because a public agency is involved, a notice or tort claim is required. The renewal agency has until the end of next month to settle, dispute or otherwise respond to the claim. If the agency fails to respond, the woman can file a complaint, beginning an official lawsuit.

North Carolina residents should be aware that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents. They cause 15 percent of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities. Slips and falls also account for about 25 percent of all reported injury claims per fiscal year, and more than 95 million lost work days per year.

Finding oneself seriously injured and in need of legal advice is not an ideal situation. However, to ease some of the stress and difficulty of dealing with an injury and the possible loss of wages, it is wise to seek legal advice after suffering due to a slip-and-fall accident.

Source: Idaho Statesman, "CCDC could face lawsuit over New Year's Eve injury," Sven Berg, March 14, 2014

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Gregory R. Gifford
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