Slip and Fall Accidents: Top 5 Ways to Protect Public Safety and Prevent Painful Injuries
Accident lawyers see slip and fall cases to verdict or reach settlement agreements for them on a daily basis. These cases are unfortunately all too common. Business owners become careless about public safety and landlords find themselves too busy to make necessary repairs before a tenant is injured on the property. There are too many downsides to this carelessness to name, but what it comes down to is public safety. Those who have sustained injuries due to the liability of a landlord or a business owner who failed to make necessary repairs to the property, thus allowing injuries to occur, are entitled to compensation for those injuries.
#5: Repair cracks in concrete, stabilize unsafe railings, and remove any other trip hazards
Many businesses and property owners don’t pay attention until the problem has injured a patron or a tenant and consequently cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Cracks in sidewalks where footing can become unstable, causing loss of balance can be easily prevented by using any of the multiple services Florida offers to repair sidewalk cracks. These services provide property evaluations and charge a nominal fee to a property owner to repair any potential hazards found on the property. This fee will always be far less than the legal fees that could accrue in the event of a slip and fall accident where a victim sustains serious injuries on the property.
Stabilizing handrails and bannisters on property with stairs should never be overlooked. Those with balance problems or even those who are simply carrying a heavy bag of groceries up or down several flights of stairs will reach for a handrail or bannister to steady themselves. If the bannister is “rickety” or not properly installed, a person may slip and fall down the stairs sustaining life-threatening injuries. Falls down stairs can cause some of the most devastating injuries. Neck, back, spinal cord, and brain injuries can all occur from a fall down the stairs.
Unforeseen trip hazards can cause preventable slip and fall accidents
Removing trip hazards such as improperly placed potted plants in walkways and packages left outside apartment doors for long periods of time can also prevent slip and fall accidents. Cracks in sidewalks and unstable bannisters are the first things we think of when apartment building hazards come to mind, but smaller issues such as potted plants and packages not taken inside in a timely manner can also pose serious safety hazards. It’s the landlord’s job to provide tenants with building policies for things such as package delivery and where gardening may and may not be done. Many apartment buildings offer complimentary package service (the building’s management office may hold packages for tenants) to prevent the problem of deliveries piling up while tenants are away at work or on vacation.
Bonus tip: adequate lighting prevents slip and fall hazards!
While adequate lighting can prevent many unnecessary injuries (such as negligent security liability) from occurring on both business and residential properties, it can also be noted that it can help to prevent slip and fall accidents too! Inadequate lighting in apartment building hallways or in the case of garden-style apartments, inadequate lighting on the outside of the building, can cause those coming home late to sustain injuries. A victim may accidentally trip going up or down a flight of stairs, over stray trash left on the ground, or over a stray animal. Lack of visibility can create a liability issue for property owners. This type of liability, as well as these types of accidents are not uncommon when proper lighting isn’t made a priority by the building owner or the landlord.
#4: Keep floors clean and dry (and follow OSHA standards)
For business and property owners, it’s important that staff employed to clean the establishment abide by any safety rules set forth by OSHA. OSHA mandates every business’ health and safety standards and can check up on businesses and their owners unannounced at any time. Fines can accrue if standards are not met or the building’s health and safety practices are not up to code. This is why maintaining a clean business free of wet or dirty floors is non-negotiable.
Busy restaurants shouldn’t sacrifice safety
For restaurant owners with busy establishments, during business hours any mopping of spills or removal of dropped food should be done as soon as the problem is noticed by a staff member with no delays. When it comes to spills, mopping up messes is not enough. Any wet floors should be thoroughly dried prior to allowing guests of the establishment to return to the area. Carts of food, extra chairs, and other trip hazards should be moved out of the way of guests. This can save business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential legal fees and more importantly, it can prevent slip and fall accidents before they ever have a chance to occur.
#3: Follow state and city implemented laws for bike and scooter riding
Every state and city have their own laws concerning bike riding and scooter usage. These laws are in place to protect the public at large. While the laws may differ slightly from state to state, certain aspects will always remain universally true: accidents can happen when they’re not followed. Pedestrians must be aware of their surroundings and yield to those on bikes or scooters that are abiding by the laws. Those on the bike or the scooter must yield to pedestrians in the same manner.
Accidents occur when a bike rider or a scooter driver feel they have the right of way, only to end up crashing into a pedestrian attempting to cross the street or walk on the sidewalk. These accidents can be considered slip and fall, if the victim is knocked over, but they can also be severe and life threatening in nature of the bike rider or scooter driver is going at a high rate of speed.
#2: Don’t walk and text
It’s important to remember to put the phone down while walking in busy areas! Texting and walking has become equally as dangerous as texting and driving. Becoming engrossed in our iPhone screens can cause unnecessary slip and fall accidents at times. Had a victim been looking up and ahead of them, they may have seen a “Wet Floor” sign posted and wouldn’t have sustained a broken ankle or herniated disk.
However, it’s not usually the injured victim’s fault! It’s extremely important to remember that while it is everyone’s job to pay attention to their surroundings for their own safety, it’s equally as important for businesses to take public safety seriously. A floor left slippery because an employee didn’t bother to wipe up a spill, or a lack of signage posted in areas where floors are being cleaned are all liabilities for the business owner and are not the fault of the injured party.
#1: Utilize proper signage in the event of any and all safety hazards
This is most likely the most understated in our Top 5 list! The importance of properly utilizing proper signage to make patrons of businesses or tenants in buildings aware of any and all safety hazards cannot be stressed enough. Restrooms that are being cleaned must properly place “Wet Floor” signs in areas visible to guests before a slip and fall accident can occur. This means, the sign must be placed in front of the wet or dirty floor, alerting guests not to walk any further without caution, or at all, if the restroom should be under repair. Businesses undergoing construction must place proper construction hazard signs visibly around areas where repairs are being made.
While it’s not the only thing that must be done, simply placing signs warning patrons of danger or safety hazards they need be cautious of can help prevent painful slip and fall accidents before they have a chance to occur. This can also drastically reduce lawsuits pertaining to liability against business owners. Taking precautions to protect visitors to the property should not be a burden for a business owner, but a preventative measure taken to strengthen the business’ reputation for caring about public safety.
Consult with an experienced accident lawyer
In the event of a slip and fall injury for which the victim was clearly not at fault, it’s important to seek experienced legal representation to provide further advice on the potential case. While The Law Resource is lawyer-backed and our articles provide factual, timely information pertaining to the specialized practice of Personal Injury Law, each case is unique. Sitting down with a Board Certified lawyer for a consultation is the only way to know if the specifics of the claim should proceed to litigation.