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From construction sites to open roof access points in commercial buildings, fall injuries can happen to anyone. It isn't always as simple as saying, "well, don't go on the roof" or "stay off the balcony." In fact, many people feel that if something is inherently dangerous that someone would have taken measures to prevent such injuries. That's a common belief, and in Ohio, if a building owner, landlord, or contractor failed to provide a proper duty of care, they can be liable. If you lost a loved one in a fall accident, contact a wrongful death lawyer in Cincinnati right away.
Falls don’t just include people who had accidentally fallen from high locations. Although falling from three or more stories up will clearly result in life-changing or life-ending injuries, there are alternatives. Slip and falls are much more common than outright fall deaths.
Falling downstairs, or from an open segment where there is no banister across the second or third floor can result in death. Then there's the risk of negligence. For example, a property owner without proper fencing or guards that run along a steep and high embankment may be responsible for someone falling down the edge and sustaining injuries that led to death.
Fall situations are not always as clear as someone falling from a high place. In fact, many fall accidents are exactly that, unexpected but preventable accidents. When in doubt, a wrongful death lawyer in Cincinnati can help.
Ohio has numerous building codes that require contractors and building owners to ensure standard safety for window fall prevention devices, and emergency escape access to override the anti-fall devices. What does this mean?
Think of how Hotel windows hardly ever open, or how tall buildings don’t have accessible windows or roofing. These are all based on fall protection codes in an effort to reduce purposeful falls from high places and accidental falls from high places. Essentially, the contractor should make it nearly impossible to fall from a fatal height accidentally. However, Cincinnati is an old city, and there are many buildings that are updating their windows and roof access doors to these codes over a number of years.
Reducing the risk of falls isn't as simple as locking windows. Building codes are the beginning, but they're certainly not the end. Buildings or property with steep falls, the opportunity to fall, or stairs must take even more precautions to make the terrain or flooring as safe as possible.
Think for a moment of Home Alone when one of the robbers falls down a long set of very icy steps. There were no signs, the steps weren’t salted, and anyone could have accessed those stairs. A neighborhood kid could have fallen down those same steps and sustained much more serious injuries or even died from those injuries.
Instances such as these require a more inventive solution. Outdoor steps that lead to basements or lower sections of the home may require a gate to prevent people from accidentally falling. Additionally, construction sites that have excessive fall risks need proper gating and signage to scare away people who might unknowingly put themselves in a great deal of risk.
What happens if you did lose someone after an unexpected fall? Well, you have a limited time frame to respond and take action. Civil action against a person responsible for the wrongful death cannot take place after two years. That means that after the time of death, or in some cases, the date of the accident, the family has no options after the two-year mark.
In wrongful death cases, it's always best to act fast, but for the families involved, that's difficult to manage. Grief and taking time to recover as a family can often take more than two years to process. If you and your family are giving some consideration to legal action, contact a lawyer to discuss your time frame for taking action. It's possible that you can explore options later, but get an attorney involved now.
After you lose a part of your family, it seems impossible to recover. But that doesn't mean that people aren't quick to identify the responsible party. For unsecured windows, unlocked doors to the roof or balcony access, and more, falls are preventable. Not everyone is aware enough, or in control enough to prevent fall deaths.
Fall deaths are unique situations, and it's likely that you and your family can hold someone responsible. Contact Young, Reverman & Mazzei to explain the situations and what might interfere with your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can discuss your options for resolution and legal pursuit during a consultation.