Holes In The Ground Can Be Serious And Dangerous
In your daily life, walking around and falling into a hole is an unlikely event. The holes that actually present dangers to us aren’t the enormous ones that people completely fall into, but rather, the holes in the ground just small enough for your foot to go into.
How Do Holes Happen?
Holes happen all the time. Often, landscapers will dig up weeds, or foliage, and leave the hole in the ground where the plants or weeds once were. Anybody working underground with plumbing or wiring, can leave a hold in the ground without knowing it.
Kids and animals can leave holes, intentionally or not, that property owners ignore.
Why So Dangerous?
There are two reasons why small, foot-sized (or larger) holes in the ground present a danger.
The first is that they cause us to fall; the ground is uneven, and our feet cannot properly plant, thus causing us to lose our balance and fall.
But the second reason is perhaps more dangerous. When we walk, or step up or down, our bodies, and musculature, brace for impact. This happens unconsciously; we don’t even realize it but muscles tighten and strengthen, so that the impact of the step up or down is taken by the muscles of the body.
But when we have a step down that we don’t expect, such as when we step into a hole, our muscles are not there to take the blow. That means that the full weight of our bodies goes straight down into the bones, tendons, or ligaments, of our entire lower bodies—from the ankles, to the tibia and fibula bones, knees, to the lower back.
This can result in devastating injuries, as the force of the weight of our body is now coming full force down on parts of our bodies that aren’t intended to take that kind of force.
Double the Liability
Holes are so dangerous, that in Florida, injury from falling into a hole actually allows a victim to recover two times your actual damages. There is a rare instance in personal injury law that carries this kind of damage multiplier.
To get the multiplier, the hole that you stepped into or fell into must be at least 2 feet long or 2 feet deep, and the hole must not have been separated by any kind of barrier. The barrier doesn’t have to be physically strong, just present enough for you to notice it; a sign, or a neon string, or something else that would alert you that there is a hole in the ground will suffice.
Who is Liable
Often property owners will claim that others caused the hole–contractors or others hired to do work on the property. When holes cause injuries, there can be multiple parties involved, and multiple parties that may owe you compensation for your injuries.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you are injured in or by a hole in the ground.