Frequently Asked Questions - What are Common Causes For Slip and Falls?
If you have fallen victim to a slip and fall. Some automatically feel that it was their fault. However, in most cases, that may not be true. Florida holds its property owners to a very high standard when it comes to safely maintaining their premises. There are a multitude of varying slip and fall cases that are caused to no fault of your own!
The most common slip and fall accidents are due to unsafe surface conditions. The most familiar being spilled liquids on the floor, such as water or grease. There could also be a collection of moisture from a leak which, in turn, can cause even carpet or matting to become wet and slippery. Similarly, loose floorboards, rugs or mats can be very hazardous slipping conditions as they are not stable ground to walk on. There may even be smashed produce on the floor which if stepped on can cause your shoe to easily slide. Another frequent example is recently mopped, waxed, or polished floors. This can be an extremely dangerous slip and fall environment as most often the entirety of the floors will be cleaned at the same time, creating a massive slippery condition for patrons. Some establishment also make the critical error of not imbedding non-slip floor treatments when required, i.e. on an outdoor decking or on stairs. Property owners also have the responsibility to protect its patrons from icy surfaces which can be extremely dangerous slipping conditions.
The next most common causes of slip and fall accidents are unsafe environmental conditions. An example of such would be debris or garbage on the floor. Even if patrons recognize the garbage lying on the floor, it often is difficult to pass through and can be a very dangerous slipping hazard as some garbage items, such as plastic, can be transparent and difficult to see. Other items lying on the floor such as clothing or clothing hangers would be considered transitory foreign substances – items that are not where they are supposed to be. Another frequent slipping, or better yet, tripping hazard, is extension cords or wires. Too often property owners do not properly lie down cords which then cause its patrons feet to catch the cord when walking and cause them to immediately fall forward before they can even try to catch their balance. It is imperative for establishments to also warn its patrons of any extension cords or wires with bright colored caution tape and signs so that their patrons can notice the tripping hazard and attempt to take extra precaution when walking through. 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, etc. However, this then creates a tremendous tripping hazard for all the guests. 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, and is often found in parking garages where, unfortunately, property owners tend to less frequently maintain their premises. Poor lighting causes a whole heap of problems for patrons. 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. On the other end, excessive bright lighting is also hazardous as this causes a glare and will block your view. Most people find themselves closing their eyes when faced with a glare. So, surely one would not be expected to be able to walk through an establishment safely if they cannot see – whether it is too much light or too little, both can be extremely dangerous. Another condition in which an establishment can create an unsafe environment would be with uneven flooring, i.e. uneven wood floorboards, uneven tiles, lifted carpet, broken cement, etc. Also, certain flooring transitions can cause a tremendous slipping hazard. When transitioning from one type of flooring material to another, this often creates an unnatural traction for patrons, i.e. a transition from a concrete material to a slick tile. This will often catch patrons off guard and cause them 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.
A property owner is legally responsible to be aware of any and all slipping or tripping hazards on their premises and repair those dangerous conditions immediately. Failing to do so is evidence of negligent behavior. So, if you have recently fallen victim to a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, do not automatically take the blame. Do not say anything to the employees or store manager or owner such as, “I must not have been paying attention.”, or “I’m just so clumsy.” Chances are your fall was actually caused by the gross negligence of the establishment and not your own. They are held to an extremely high standard when it comes to maintaining their premises and must do everything within their power to make sure their premises are safe for their patrons. There could be a numerous of dangerous surface conditions and environmental conditions that they were guilty of creating that you are unaware of.
Slip and fall accidents happen so fast, most people are shocked and unsure what exactly caused their fall. Sometimes it is easy to tell – a puddle of water on the floor. Other times, it may not be that obvious – i.e. slippery stairs that were not properly equipped with a non-slip treatment.
While we all need to be careful and exercise due care when walking, property owners are held to an even higher standard. For this exact reason and so many more, following your slip and fall accident, you should consult the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. They will gather all the relevant facts and notify you of any negligent behavior that the defendant is guilty of.