Property owners must provide premises that are free of hazards that could cause injuries to visitors or customers. However, slip-and-fall accidents are the subject of many lawsuits in the civil courts of Alaska. Foreign substances that cause slippery surfaces typically lead to slips that result in victims falling backward. In contrast, a person who trips over a misplaced object or uneven walk surface would usually fall forward. In both these accidents, various injuries can occur, some of which can cause long-term health problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a significant percentage of traumatic brain injuries that are reported every year follow falls, most often when victims slip and fall backward, striking their heads against hard surfaces or objects. An accidental fall causes a rapid jerking motion that could cause whiplash injuries. These could affect the victim's neck, back and spinal column, and although some such injuries resolve in time, others cause chronic discomfort and pain.
The direction in which a person falls can determine whether fractures occur. Falling backward onto the buttocks and grabbing onto something or holding out the hands to arrest the fall could cause a hip fracture, or injuries to the shoulder, arm, wrist or hand. Rotator cuff shoulder injuries can be excruciating because the shoulder joint moves in so many directions. Knee injuries are common consequences of a forward fall caused by a trip accident. Every step a person takes puts weight on his or her knee, making knee injuries particularly painful.
Victims of slip-and-fall accidents that resulted from the negligence of a property owner might have grounds to file a lawsuit to recover damages. A successful claim may lead to the recovery of financial and other damages. This is a complicated field of the law that might be best navigated by an experienced Alaska premises liability attorney.