Falls are the leading cause of hospital emergency room visits, accounting for over 8 million visits every year, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slip and fall accidents account for over 1 million visits of those visits. In many instances, slip and fall accidents could be prevented and the property owner or management could be held liable for any injuries resulting from the accident.
Wet and Uneven Surfaces
The most common slip and fall accidents are due to unsafe surface conditions. In some cases, there could be spilled liquids on the floor, such as water or grease. Or, moisture could build from a leak which, in turn, can cause even carpet or matting to become wet and slippery. Loose floorboards, cluttered floors, parking lot potholes — all can be very hazardous conditions as they are not stable ground to walk on.
Recently mopped, waxed, or polished floors are another common cause of slip and fall accidents due to a wet surface. Businesses should also be embedding non-slip floor treatments when required, for instance on an outdoor deck or on stairs. Without it, those surfaces can become slippery and uneven. Property owners have a responsibility to protect their patrons from wet and uneven surfaces and could be found to be negligent if they don’t.
Certain flooring transitions can cause a tremendous slipping hazard. Transitioning from one type of flooring material to another can create an unnatural transition, for instance going from concrete to a slick tile. This can cause someone to lose their footing and balance and fall. Even if you notice the transition and are using caution, sometimes the sudden change in traction is too much too soon. This dangerous condition would need to be immediately rectified by the property owner to ensure its patrons can walk through safely.
Weather leads to a large number of slip and fall accidents. Engaging in winter safety procedures is important for property owners. Both property owners and municipalities alike have a legal responsibility to shovel sidewalks, plow streets and salt walkways and steps. If they haven’t done so and a person sustains an injury, they could be held liable.
Tripping hazards are also common causes of slip and fall accidents. Garbage or debris lying on the floor can cause slippery or hazardous conditions on the floor’s surface or some garbage items, such as plastic, can be transparent and difficult to see. Extension cords or wires not properly lied down can cause tripping accidents. Most often, especially in public arenas, these cords are placed in high traffic areas for concerts or parties in order to play music or utilize more lighting.
Another example of an establishment creating an unsafe environmental condition would be through poor lighting. This can be found inside of a building if certain light bulbs are out such as in parking garages or long hallways. Poor lighting hinders one’s eyesight which will shield them from noticing any hazardous conditions up ahead. If the lights are very dim, then you may not notice the puddle in front of you and, thus, be unable to avoid it. Property owners are responsible to provide adequate and safe lighting for this exact reason.
Steps to Take After a Fall
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, consider the scenarios. Even serious injuries can be slow to present with symptoms, which allows them time to develop into something even more serious and more difficult to treat. If something caused you to slip, such as a spill, torn carpeting, jagged concrete, the business – because it failed to remedy the danger – is very likely legally responsible for your damages. To determine if the property owner is liable for the accident, one of the following must apply:
The property owner or an employee caused the dangerous condition.
The property owner or employee was aware of the dangerous condition but ignored it.
The property owner or an employer should have known because any reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered the hazard and handled it.
For a free consultation about your personal injury claim please call me at 802-888-7707.