Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, at any time. Many times, falls happen through the negligence of the injured person, but other times, they occur because of the negligence of the property owner or business. Here are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents.
The most obvious reason why someone slips and falls is due to something being on the floor causing the individual to lose his or her balance. Property owners have a duty to maintain their common areas, specifically the floors. All floors are expected to be clean of liquids and debris, and if the property owner fails to maintain the floors in a safe manner, he or she can be held responsible. Some of the more common ways flooring can lead to injuries include:
- The property owner not putting up adequate warnings or notices that the floor was being cleaned, was still wet or damp or had any other hazards;
- If an area was damp or wet, the property or business owner failed to put up adequate barriers to close off the area;
- The property or business owner used too much wax or polish on the floor or applied it unevenly, leaving one area too slick;
- The property or business owner applied a floor treatment to a part of the floor that was on an incline or slope, leaving it dangerous to walk upon; or
- The property or business owner failed to use a “non-skid” floor treatment if that type of floor treatment is required.
Essentially any time the property owner is negligent in maintaining carpeted floors, rugs or mats can also result in liability. If an individual falls on a torn, broken or bulging area of carpet, the property owner can still be held liable for the injury. Similarly, if any item gets caught in the carpet material, causing the person to trip and fall, the property owner may be held liable.
Another risky area for property owners involves slip trips and falls on stairways. Stairs can be tricky in that it can be extremely easy for someone to lose his or her step while walking up or down a set of stairs. Stairs must meet important codes and standards to make them safe, which include the length of tread, height of banisters, adequate lighting, etc. Unfortunately, many staircases do not meet and comply with these codes. The edges of the stairs can become worn or rounded, depending on the material of the actual stair step, and this can make it easier for someone to slip. It is important that property owners have proper handrails to help people get up and down stairs, and if a handrail becomes broken, it needs to be promptly replaced and warning signs posted regarding the hazard until the handrail is fixed. The property owner is charged with making sure the stairway is clean and free from trash and other debris, and while accidents do happen where something may spill on the stair, it is up to the property owner to routinely check and clean the stairs to make sure they are clear.
Elevators and Escalators
Another area where individuals can easily fall and hurt themselves are on elevators and escalators. These devices are meant to help people go from one floor to another in a building, but they can prove to be troublesome for safety reasons. Because they are meant to carry passengers specifically, the property owner has a greater legal duty to make sure that they are routinely maintained and up to code. Many accidents happen when someone is getting on or off the escalator or elevator, especially when the device makes a sudden and unexpected movement. Also, clothing or other items can become caught in different parts of either device. It is for this reason that the property owner needs to schedule routine inspections and maintenance to make sure they are safe for patrons. Warning signs also need to be posted informing people of these risks and informing them to be cautious while on the elevator or escalator.
Consult with an experienced slip and fall accident attorney. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is extremely important that you sit down with an attorney to discuss your legal rights. The sooner you do this the better. Important evidence (such as photos and video surveillance footage) must be obtained quickly to ensure the best possible outcome in your case.
As experienced Miami slip and fall accident lawyers, we understand Florida’s slip-and-fall laws and how to hold businesses accountable for our client’s injuries, lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. If you have suffered a slip and fall at a grocery store, restaurant or retail store in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, The Keys or anywhere in the State of Florida it is critically important for you to consult with an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer who will fight to protect your legal rights. When selecting a lawyer- ask them about their qualifications and experience in claims against grocery stores, retailers and restaurants. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer and our firm, Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has successfully represented people and their families in slip and fall claims across the country since 1991. Call us today for a free initial consultation 1-866-597-4529 or email [email protected] and speak with an experienced slip and fall lawyer about your potential claim.