You may be entitled to compensation for slip and falls in a bathtub or shower. Find out who is to blame and what you’ll need for your claim.
Of all the rooms in your home, the bathroom is by far the most dangerous.¹ Sure, it doesn’t have the knives and fire the kitchen has. But your bathroom is a wet environment, and cleaning products you use on tubs, showers and floors can make them slippery.
Even assuming that you could make your own bathroom accident-proof, you would still be in danger of bathroom-related accidents. Bathrooms in hotels and other guest accommodations are cleaned and maintained by other people, who may not clean them properly. The lack of safety equipment, like handrails or rubber mats, increases the risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 20 million people per year suffer nonfatal slip and fall injuries in the bathroom.² You should take reasonable precautions to avoid falls. If you are injured, you need to be aware of the legal and factual issues that arise from slip and fall accidents in tubs and showers.
This article will take a look at slip and fall accidents that happen while bathing and showering. In particular, we’ll examine common causes of slip and fall accidents in the bathroom and the injuries that can result. We’ll also look at who might be responsible for your injuries, and what you need to make an injury claim.
Shower and Bathtub Slip and Fall Injuries
While we may not think of the bathroom as a dangerous place, the effects of a slip and fall accident in the bathtub can be severe or even deadly. All sorts of injury risks can be found in a bathroom. Some may not be as obvious as you would think.
A common cause of slip and fall accidents in the bathtub and shower is wet floors and fixtures when getting out of the shower. (Getting in is less dangerous, as the floor is usually not yet wet.) The absence of a bathmat, rubber mat or grab bars increase this risk.
It may be a surprise to you that bathroom cleaners can leave residue that makes bathtubs and showers slippery. Hotel bathtubs, in particular, are cleaned frequently. If that cleaning is not done properly, it can leave the tub in a slick, dangerous condition.
The combination of wet, slick surfaces and hard floors and walls can lead to painful and debilitating injuries.
Some common injuries from bathtub slip and falls are:
- Broken bones in wrists or arms
- Head injuries and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) like concussions or cerebral contusions
- Back injury, including broken back or slipped disc
- Broken hip
The severity of bathroom slip and fall injuries vary greatly from case to case. Though most injuries are not fatal, a broken hip, or severe head and neck injuries can be life-altering.
Also keep in mind that if you have a concussion as a result of your fall, symptoms may not be immediately obvious, but delayed treatment may have grave consequences.
It’s vital to get medical attention as soon as possible after you have a slip and fall accident in a bathtub or shower.
Finding Fault for Bathtub Slip and Fall Damages
One of the key questions in any slip and fall case is which person or entity is liable for the injury.
Slip and fall claims against hotels or gyms, for example, would be premises liability claims because bathrooms at those places are cleaned and maintained by the business you are patronizing.
Bathroom injury claims would be pursued just as any other slip and fall claim against a property owner. Slip and fall accidents are usually based on the negligence of the property owner. If the property owner did not reasonably act to prevent falls by guests, they’re probably responsible for your injury.
Liability for Bathroom Falls at Home
The question of responsibility is more complicated when the slip and fall happens in your own bathtub. Most homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover injuries to the members of your household.
Does the fact that the accident happened in your own home preclude you from a claim against another person or entity?
Not necessarily. Keep in mind that while claims related to slip and fall accidents are typically premises liability claims, you might have other grounds for a claim or lawsuit. For example, if your fall was caused by a defective bathtub that warped and caused you to trip, you may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the bathtub.
Nor is that the only kind of product liability claim possible in this scenario. Perhaps you used a cleaner in your bathtub that left behind too much residue. If that residue made the bathtub surface slippery and caused you to fall, you could have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the cleaning product.
Some cleaners even come with express warranties that they increase slip resistance when they are used. If they work, they can give you extra protection. If not, you have a claim for breach of warranty.
Keep in mind that slip and fall accidents have all sorts of causes. Thus, many different legal theories may apply to your accident and injury. When deciding whether and how to make a claim, talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer for legal advice on the best way to pursue your claim for compensation.
Pursuing Claims for Bathroom Falls
As with any other personal injury claim, a bathroom slip and fall claim will likely be submitted to an insurance company and resolved at that level.
When dealing with an insurance adjuster, it’s important to submit your best evidence and properly negotiate in order to get the best settlement offer possible. A personal injury attorney can help you with these points.
If you cannot reach an acceptable settlement with the insurance company, you may have to file a lawsuit. In the event that you need to pursue litigation, a personal injury attorney can help you look at the facts and decide who you should sue, and the best venue for your lawsuit.
Whether you decide to handle your own slip and fall claim, or rely on an attorney, you will need to have proof of your damages, and an accurate calculation of your claim’s value.
Gather documents to support your damages claim, including:
- Medical bills
- Future medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
The value to bathroom slip and fall claims varies widely based on the nature of the injury. A fall resulting in a broken wrist could easily exceed $100,000, particularly if your wrist requires surgery. A mild head injury or TBI could be worth $60,000-$70,000, while a serious one could be worth $500,000 or more.
The single most important factor in getting full compensation is organizing, collecting and presenting evidence to support your claimed damages. This preparation may be tedious, but it can pay large dividends later.
Staying Safe in the Bathroom
We can never make our homes or our lives completely safe. We can only take necessary and reasonable precautions while hoping for the best. Unfortunately, we cannot control the actions of others. Companies that make unsafe products or businesses that don’t properly maintain their bathrooms are two factors that can injure you at your most vulnerable.
If you or a family member has suffered an injury after slipping and falling in the bathtub or shower, take control of the situation. Gather your evidence and contact a qualified personal injury lawyer for free consultation and case evaluation.
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