A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere–at work, at home, at a friend’s house, at the shopping mall, or even at your place of worship. Slipping and falling can lead to serious and sometimes permanent injuries, especially for children and the elderly. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that trip and fall accidents account for 15% of all accidental deaths in the United States, which puts them in second place behind car accidents. The good news is that, in many cases, the person or business who owns or manages the land that a person slips and falls on is legally responsible for preventing those kinds of accidents. If they fail to uphold this legal duty and someone gets hurt, they could expose themselves to liability.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents, how to prevent them, and the legal justification for holding landowners liable for injuries.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
A few of the most common hazards that can cause slips and falls include:
Surface conditions, including
Uneven surfaces with no warning signs
Recently mopped or waxed floors
Raised sidewalk flags
Broken or badly chipped sidewalk flags
Defective tree wells, including broken fences or raised cobblestones
Loose and uneven floorboards, rugs, or mats, especially on stairs or in building entranceways
Potholes in parking lots or in roadways
Spilled liquids that are not cleaned up
Splashed grease or oil that is not removed
Ice that is not salted
Snow that has not been removed after a snow storm has ceased
Environmental conditions, including
Trash or debris on the floor
Bright light reflecting on a shiny floor that causes glare
Poor lighting that makes it difficult to see obstacles or to navigate stairs
Cords/Wires that a run across public walkways
Transitions from one type of surface to another, such as from carpet to wood
Raised entrance saddles
Ladders and stairs, including:
No handrail present or not using a handrail
Rushing up and down or taking more than one step at a time
Failure to secure a ladder or have someone hold it
Chipped or broken steps
Steps Property Owners Can Take To Prevent The Occurrence Of A Slip and Fall Accident
Although slips and falls are very common and can be caused by almost any condition, there are a few ways to reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident.
Reduce wet or slippery surfaces - Reduce the risk of people slipping and falling on your property by: mopping up wet surfaces; keeping parking lots and sidewalks repaired; removing ice and snow; using adhesive stripping or anti-skid paint; using moisture-absorbing mats in entrance areas; displaying “wet floor” signs as needed; and cleaning up spills immediately.
Remove obstacles from aisles and walkways - Environmental factors that cause slips and falls can be significantly reduced by keeping all work areas and passageways clean and orderly, avoiding stringing cords and cables across hallways or walking areas, moving boxes and other obstacles out of heavily-trafficked areas, and making sure all employees close cabinet drawers.
Create and maintain proper lighting - Ensure that the premises are lit properly by keeping work areas bright and clean, keeping poorly lit areas clear of clutter and obstructions, keeping areas around light switches clear and accessible, and always turning on a light when entering a darkened room.
Steps That You Can Take To Prevent A Slip And Fall Accident
Watch where you’re going - It may sound silly to say, but the best way to prevent a painful and costly slip and fall accident while you’re out running errands is to watch where you’re going. There are so many things that can distract you: screaming kids, texting your spouse, drinking your coffee, or answering one last work email; do these things while you are stationary and eliminate a large chunk of the risk of slipping and falling.
Wearing proper shoes - Many slip and fall accidents are caused by wearing shoes that are inappropriate for a particular activity or a particular place. Eliminate this risk by wearing shoes that are appropriate for your surroundings and making sure that your shoelaces are tied at all times. If you are the type of person to wear unsafe shoes like high heels, then try keeping a pair of flats in your car or bag to change into.
Understand your surroundings - Right along with wearing the proper shoes, is understanding what areas are more likely to cause a fall. For example, a grocery store can be an extra dangerous place for slip and fall accidents. With all the freezers, wet items, and hard floors, one should be extra careful in these places.
Contact a New York Slip and Fall Attorney
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be able to seek compensation from the landowner or the party responsible for the maintenance of the property. To schedule a free case evaluation with a New York Slip and Fall Attorney, call the Law Office of Dimitrios Kourouklis today at 929-400-7608 or via email.