Simply falling may not seem very dangerous, but hundreds of people receive moderate to severe injuries every year thanks to slip and fall related accidents. What follows is a list of some of the most common reasons for slips and falls. Property owners and managers who can address these issues before they cause an accident can save themselves from the pain of civil litigation later.
Anyone injured in a slip and fall should see if the cause of their slip is on this list. If it is, then the accident was likely preventable, and the injury victim may be due compensation. An attorney can review the facts of the case to determine types of damages covered by slip and fall compensation and, if so, how much. As covered in a previous post, it is critical that the attorney you hire is an expert when it comes to dealing with these types of cases. We’ve demonstrated the number one reason slip and fall cases are unsuccessful and have shown just how critical an expert’s opinion plays a role in the outcome of a slip / trip and fall case. However, did you know that not all attorneys bother hiring such experts to review your case?
Common hazards include:
- Floor Contaminants – like water, grease, food, etc. are common causes of slip and fall accidents in areas where food is served, stored, or consumed.
- Drainage Issues – backed up or broken pipes can cause water to spill and leak onto walking surfaces. Bathrooms, rooms with floor drains, and anywhere with visible pipes are common locations of slip and fall accidents caused by drainage issues.
- Surface Irregularities – dents in vinyl tile, buckled carpets, and sloped pavement can cause a person to trip and fall. Trips can be just as dangerous, but are also just as preventable, as slips.
- Weather – we may not be able to control it, but when it creates the risk of a slip and fall, we have to do something to minimize that risk. People walking in from the rain or snow commonly slip at entrances when they transition to a slick walkway from the outside. Pavement and outdoor walking paths may freeze over in snowy weather, creating another risk for property owners/managers to worry about.
- Lighting – many slip and fall accidents are avoidable simply for the fact that, had there been adequate lighting, the victim would have seen the harm he or she walked into. Dead light bulbs should be replaced with haste so people can see where they’re going.
- Uneven Steps & Stairs – uneven steps or stairs can cause serious slip and fall injuries. The closer to the top the person is when he or she slips, the more likely that he or she will suffer a serious injury from the fall. Uneven stairs should be highlighted until they can be repaired. Also, every staircase should have a handrail installed nearby, so users can catch themselves if they do slip or trip.
- Clutter – this includes anything in a walking path that doesn’t need to be in a walking path, like loose cords, hoses, wires, etc. To the person walking along who doesn’t see these hazards in time, a simple loose cord can lead to a serious injury and likely litigation.
In general, property owners and managers have a duty to keep their properties safe for members of the public when they hold those properties as open to the public. Supermarkets, malls, retail stores, restaurants, and anywhere else that invites customers to do business on its property is responsible for ensuring that hazards are kept to a minimum. Failure to do this may result in serious civil charges.
For more information regarding slip and fall injuries, visit the CDC’s website.