There are many different types of walking surfaces that can be the culprit in a slip and fall accident. They can include sidewalks, parking lots and driveways, entrances and exits, interior flooring surfaces, and other walking surface hazards. Most times it is not the surface, as much as it is the condition of that surface that causes slip and fall accidents. Here are a few things to look out for.
A Sidewalk in poor condition often causes slip and fall accidents
For all premises owners, sidewalk maintenance is critical in preventing slip and fall injuries. Many businesses underestimate how common falls can be, especially in high traffic areas. Regular periodic inspections of sidewalks should be conducted, and any poor conditions corrected as soon as possible. Sidewalks should be free of cracks and potholes, which can create tripping hazards. Gravel and rocks make the walking surface very unstable. It is also just as important to ensure that no items are placed in a pedestrian’s path, on which they could also trip and fall. The same inspection and care must be given to driveways and parking lots, which can also contain the same hazardous conditions.
Other outdoor surface hazards
In areas of the country where ice and snow are common, those wintery conditions can pose a problem. Generally speaking, the law does not require a property owner or occupant to continually remove ice or snow that may accumulate as a result of weather. However, when the conditions are a result of an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow, resulting in a failure to reasonably remove it, then the property owner may be liable. Also, if the property owner chooses to provide snow or ice removal, it must be done in a reasonable manner, and not negligently.
Indoor hazardous conditions
Dangerous conditions such as torn carpeting, changes in the type of flooring, poor lighting, narrow stairways, or a wet floor are also common causes of slip and fall accidents. Stairs are often made of materials that wear out from continued use. Stair edges may become rounded or smooth, causing people to slip. Also, stairs or floors that have been waxed or polished are frequently dangerous to pedestrians.
Certainly, premises owners will need to clean and wax floors periodically. However, if they fail to provide adequate warnings that the floor is being cleaned and is still wet or fail to close off an area that is wet, when possible, there may be liability. The same is true for floor waxing.
Who is liable for your injuries?
The term “premises liability” refers to the legal principles that make landowners and/or tenants responsible for injuries sustained by individuals who lawfully enter onto their property. In order to be compensated for those injuries, victims typically file lawsuits against the landowners, landlords, business owners, or others who control or possess the property where the injury occurred.
Each state has its own set of premises liability laws. Traditionally, liability is based on the status of the victim, which means the reason the person was on the premises in the first place. There are three recognized statuses for victims in premises liability cases: licensee, invitee and trespasser. Each status is afforded a different level of protection from harm.
If you have questions regarding slip and fall accidents, or any other personal injury concerns, please contact the Cottrell Law Office by calling us at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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