Common Slip-and-Fall Hazards
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Jonathan Jamieson with Phillips Law Group.
A common misconception about slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall accidents is that the injuries that occur are not particularly serious. However, this is not the case. In fact, slip-and-fall injuries account for more than one million emergency room visits each year, according to the National Floor Safety Institute, many of which are brain and hip injuries. The good news is that many slip-and-fall hazards are predictable, and the risk of injury can be mitigated with proper attention to maintenance and safety conditions.
Some of the most common slip-and-fall hazards include:
- Wet surfaces
- Uneven surfaces
- Cracked pavement
- Broken or missing steps
- Broken or missing railings
- Adverse weather conditions
- Improperly treated walkways (i.e. icy sidewalks)
- Improper training, particularly on work sites
- Inadequate footwear
- Nursing home or hospital neglect
When someone is injured in a slip-and-fall, it’s important to document the hazard.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for someone to be injured in a slip-and-fall accident caused or contributed to by a hazardous condition only to find that the condition has been corrected when they go back to look for evidence. For example, if a property manager was notified of a broken railing multiple times, failed to fix it, and an injury occurred as a result, it would not be surprising for the property manager to rush an immediate fix of the railing, eliminating the evidence.
This is why personal injury attorneys typically recommend documenting the scene of the accident as soon as possible after the injury; in some cases, this might require a friend or loved one to do so on your behalf while you receive medical treatment. It’s also a good idea to collect the contact information of anyone who might have witnessed the accident occurring. All of this evidence will play an important role in proving when and how the injury occurred.
Landlords, property managers, employers, and maintenance providers are all responsible for providing reasonably safe conditions.
It’s important to remember that whether you are at work, shopping, engaging in recreational activities, or even at home if you live in rented property, someone is responsible for ensuring an environment free from obvious hazards. This responsibility is referred to as a legal duty of care; a failure to uphold this responsibility is considered a breach of duty of care and could open up the party in question to liability. For example, if an employer failed to address a slip-and-fall hazard they reasonably should have noticed, and an employee or customer is injured, the employer could be liable for their resulting damages in a personal injury claim.
Damages that may arise from slip-and-fall accidents include but are not limited to medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you have a safety concern, it’s a good idea to report and document your concern right away, so you can later prove that the property manager should reasonably have been aware of the hazard and made efforts to fix it.
To learn more about slip-and-fall hazards, or for help investigating your case after a slip-and-fall, reach out to a premises liability attorney in your state.