A slip and fall in a store, restaurant, lobby, or other business may cause more than a minor injury. Each year, there are 29 million falls which cause 28,000 fatalities and 800,000 hospital admissions. Landlords and property owners may face a premises liability lawsuit unless they take certain precautions against slip and fall accidents.
Falls are also responsible for three million trips to emergency rooms and $31 billion in Medicare costs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that fall are the top cause of injuries for individuals who are at least 65 years old.
In a slip and fall suit, the injured victim must prove that the owner or landlord was negligent. This means that they caused the unsafe condition such as failure to secure a work zone or clean up following work, inadequately repaired an unsafe condition such as improperly clearing off stairs or sidewalks after a snow storm or knew about an unsafe condition and did not fix it or provide a warning.
Property owners and landlords must keep a hazard-free property. Typical hazards include the absence of sturdy railings on staircases and pathways which are important to prevent accidents in wet weather conditions. Sidewalks, stairs, hallways, and other walking surfaces with inadequate traction or without nonslip coating or textures also cause injuries.
Buckled or cracked flooring are anther tripping hazard and should be replaced as soon as possible but especially in the fall when the weather is crisp and clear. Spills need to be cleaned up immediately or cones or caution tape should be used to warn guests or customers.
Tenants should not leave things in hallway, stairwells or walking areas. During renovations, wires should be taped down or secured to prevent tripping hazards. Hallways and stairwells must be properly illuminated.
Outdoor risks include broken pavers. Holes and uneven spots in dirt or grass should filled in or clearly identified. Property owners must remove snow and wet leaves to eliminate slipping hazards and trim bushes that can interfere with a person’s ability to walk.
Phone and text numbers or other contact information should be posted so that employees or tenants can report fall or tripping hazards. All disrepairs or hazards must be resolved immediately to prevent accidents.
Customers, tenants, or guests who suffer a slip-and-fall injury, or their families, may be entitled to compensation. An attorney can help obtain evidence and represent them in negotiations and legal proceedings.