As the victim of a slip, trip, and fall, you most likely have questions about your rights regarding compensation. Many injured fall victims are quick to blame themselves, and often exclaim their own fault out of embarrassment as they leave the premises or are taken away to a hospital. However, store and property owners are often found to be at fault for their invitees’ injuries. Hazardous flooring is a common cause of slip, trip, and falls, and Barrie personal injury lawyers at Preszler Injury Lawyers are experienced in handling such cases.
Slip and Fall Vs. Trip and Fall
According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety, a slips happen in situations with too little friction between a person’s feet and the walking surface. An example of a slip and fall is a customer at a store slipping on an oily flooring surface that should have been cleaned. A trip and fall occurs when a person’s foot or leg comes into contact with an object, causing him or her to lose balance. A common example of a trip and fall is when a patron in a mall stumbles over the bump of a roll up mat in an entrance carpet. Regardless of the falling mechanism, be it either a slip or a trip, being injured during a fall on another party’s premises is grounds for filing a personal injury claim. A Barrie hazardous flooring lawyer with Preszler Injury Lawyers can help you get the compensation that you need to manage your injuries and lost income.
Preventative Measures Property Owners and Business Owners Should Take
Business owners, homeowners, and property owners have an obligation to address slip, trip, and fall hazards about which they have real or constructive knowledge. In terms of addressing hazardous flooring, there are many measures that a prudent property owner can take. According to Canadian Occupational Safety, these include using:
- Mats and Non-Slip Tiles
- Floor and Step Coverings to Increase Friction
- Grip Tape On Steps Or Ramps
- Warning Signs and Markings for Uneven Surfaces
- Treatments to Create a Non-Slip Surface
- Coatings to Increase Friction and Visibility
How Slip and Falls Happen on Hazardous Flooring
- Flooring That Lacks Friction—The only thing that keeps our feet on the ground is friction, the “resistance to motion of one object moving relative to another,” according to Live Science. Without friction, objects and people would be perpetually sliding around on the ground like an ice rink, endlessly. Some restaurant and store floors can feel that way if they have not been cleaned or the flooring material used is worn out and polished to a sheen. Add a bit of water, oil, dust, or other spilled liquid or debris to any type of flooring material, and it becomes even more hazardous. Examples of hazardous, slippery flooring materials include granite, porcelain and ceramic tiles, linoleum, painted walking surfaces, hardwood floors, polished cement, and laminate. Another type of friction-lacking footing involves a towel or walking mat placed at an entrance way that slides out from under the victim. In this case, the flooring material itself may not have been the problem, but the overlying rug or mat was.
- Uneven or Damaged Flooring Surface—An uneven surface, such as a tear in the carpet or missing laminate tile, can easily catch a foot mid-step and send an unsuspecting victim to the ground. Other examples of uneven flooring include the following:
- Seams in the floor, including the junction point between two different types of flooring materials;
- Chipped or dented granite or concrete;
- Warped hardwood or laminate;
- Old, uneven floorboards;
- Flooring that has nails or screw heads jutting out;
- Damaged sidewalk; and
- Sidewalk that has been pushed up by tree roots.
- Unmarked Steps or Stairs—Obviously, not all office spaces, stores, homes, and shops are on the ground level. Invitees understand this, but expect to have elevation changes clearly marked. No one enters a grocery store looking down at their feet, expecting they have to navigate a rocky singletrack path in the woods. Stairs, ramps, and steps should all be clearly marked with bright tape, paint, and/or signage, as well as be protected with hand railings when applicable.
- Objects Cluttering or Impeding The Walkway—Potentially the most dangerous type of hazardous flooring is created when an unmarked object is permanently or temporarily in the path of customers and other invitees. This type of hazard includes the following:
- Cut or broken off sign posts a few centimeters high;
- Extension cords, wires, or hoses;
- Spilled goods;
- Unmarked or unguarded holes;
- Objects jutting out from walls, shelving units, checkout stands, or doorways;
- Odd angled chair legs or other furniture; and
- Home clutter such as shoes or children’s toys.
Spills, Leaks, and Debris
Oftentimes, the flooring material is not the problem but spilled liquids, ice, or leaking pipes are. Just as property and business owners have a duty to install safe flooring, repair dangerous defects and damaged flooring, and use warning devices like brightly coloured tape to warn invitees about steps or ramps, they also have the duty to address spills, leaks, and debris in a timely manner. This includes all of the following:
- Spills caused by customers
- Leaks from pipes, windows, and roofs
- Puddles at entrance ways caused by foot traffic bringing in snow or rainwater
- Ice or snow build up
- Spilled or knocked over merchandise
- Much more
Line of Sight and Lighting Issues
Poor lighting or line of sight issues can contribute to slip and falls, particularly when the flooring surface is already worn out or cluttered. Dimly lit stores, stairwells, and hallways are particularly hazardous for the elderly or people with eyesight complications.
A Hazardous Flooring Lawyer is a Phone Call Away
Many fall victims do not know what caused them to slip or trip; they only know that they were injured due to another party’s negligence. Leave the investigation to a skilled hazardous flooring lawyer here at Preszler Injury Lawyers. Our experienced slip and fall lawyers handle each case with equal parts compassion and conviction, ensuring quality service and the best compensation results attainable. Call us today at 1-800-JUSTICE to schedule a free consultation.