Slip-and-fall accidents can happen anywhere and at any time to anyone. It’s important to acknowledge that, because most of us never imagine that we could get hurt in a slip-and-fall accident. As South Florida personal injury lawyers, we’ve seen this again and again in our practice. Everyone sees this as a type of accident that happens to other people… until suddenly you’re the one dealing with thousands of dollars in medical bills because someone else didn’t correct a problem that they should have or take necessary precautions to keep you safe.
The kinds of dangers that can lead to slip-and-fall accidents are all around us in Florida. Since they are often everyday things that can be easily missed, it’s important to know what you should watch out for. Generally speaking, slip-and-fall conditions can be broken down into two categories: things to watch out for indoors and things to avoid outdoors. Click the link to read more about what to do after a slip and fall injury.
Indoor Slip-and-Fall Dangers
Wet floors. We’ve all seen those Wet Floor signs that stores put up after mopping or in the event of a spill, but what if the floor is wet and there’s no sign? What if there’s no barrier to close off the area and keep people from walking on it? If the property owner knew about the danger or should have known about it, they may be liable if you are injured.
Uneven carpets. As carpets age, it’s not uncommon for them to become torn or worn, or even start to bulge in certain areas. Edges can curl up, and sometimes items can get caught in the carpet and catch on footwear. Property owners need to watch out for and try to fix the issues as soon as possible.
Waxed or treated floors. Flooring can be especially dangerous after it has been waxed or treated incorrectly. Common examples include:
- Using too much polish or wax
- Applying polish or wax unevenly
- Using a floor treatment on an area of the floor that slopes
- Only treating part of the floor, which can cause a change in walking conditions
Stairway problems. You can get seriously hurt falling down stairs. Oftentimes, people fall on stairs because of obstacles that the property owner should have known about and dealt with. One of the most obvious is keeping trash and other debris off the stairs. Property owners also have to make sure that handrails aren’t broken or missing, that the steps don’t become worn or rounded, and that stairs have a non-skid surface – especially if they are going to be polished or waxed. There are different ways of proving fault in stairway slip and fall accidents – call us to discuss different theories of liability.
Neglecting non-skid materials. There are specific situations where the law requires property owners to use floor treatments that have non-skid ingredients, such as on stairs. If they violate this requirement and you are subsequently injured, they may be at fault.
Dark or unlit areas. Property owners have a responsibility to make sure that every part of their property is well-lit and easily navigable. If a light goes out, they need to act quickly to get it replaced, and if there are complaints about people having difficulty getting through part of the property because of a lack of light, it should be addressed.
Outdoor Slip-and-Fall Dangers
Neglected private walkways. If someone falls down on a public sidewalk, a property owner can’t be held responsible (however the local governmental entity can). But if the injury instead occurs on a driveway or private walkway, they may be liable. Falls may be caused by cracked or uneven paving, or wet or slippery conditions caused by cleaning or weather.
Pot holes and height differences. Parking lots and driveways can be dangerous for people because they tend to crack and develop pot holes over time. Damaged lots and driveways need to be repaired in a timely fashion or owners may be held responsible for any injuries that occur. It’s also important to make sure that differences in height and elevation occur gradually so that pedestrians don’t slip or trip.
Inadequate lighting. Just like property owners can be held legally responsible if someone gets hurt because an area inside is too dark, the same is true for the exterior portions of their property. If there’s not enough light to see in a parking lot or on a walkway outside the property, you can slip, trip, and fall on a number of obstacles that otherwise wouldn’t have been an issue if it was possible to see.
Obviously, these aren’t the only things that cause slip-and-falls for Floridians, but this list can help you build a basic awareness of kinds of things that you should watch out for the next time you get a room at a hotel or head to the mall. If you do suffer an injury because someone else neglected to take proper care of their property, don’t end up paying for their mistake – seek out an experienced South Florida personal injury lawyer and get the compensation that you need to pay off your medical bills and get your life back on track.