Most Common Areas for Slip and Fall Accidents
Over 50% of slip and fall accident cases filed last year happened on the grounds of a condominium or a cooperation ownership (co-op) building. This significant number includes five areas that are most hazardous. By examining these unsafe conditions, the number of slip and fall injuries can be reduced.
Uneven sidewalks, slippery snow and icy conditions are the most common causes of fall injuries outside of these buildings. In the interior of these complexes, wet floors, dangerous floor coverings and slippery pool surfaces present the biggest risk for slip and fall accidents.
Even though the building owner does not own the sidewalk, property owners are responsible for keeping sidewalks reasonably safe and clear of hazards. If someone experiences a slip and fall accident due to a hazard, a negligent property owner can be held liable. Expansion joints in sidewalks can present a risk for a slip and fall injury if they are not caulked properly. Unevenness in the sidewalk pavement can result in the heel of a shoe becoming caught in the joint. Tree roots that are not removed, buried, or grinded below the surface also increase the chance of an uneven sidewalk which is often the cause for a slip and fall accident.
Slippery Snow and Ice
Winter weather conditions, such as snow and ice, but must be taken care of in a timely fashion. Most cities or townships have ordinances that require owners to remove snow and ice within four to six hours after the snow or ice has ceased to fall. When ice removal causes damage to cement or other ground surfaces, there is usually a reasonable grace period allowed to fix the damage when weather conditions improve. Moreover, a property owner does not have to clear snow and ice between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Regardless of these exceptions, clearing ice and snow at least once an hour is a good rule of thumb to eliminate slip and fall accidents.
Dangerous Floor Coverings
Curled edges of carpets or mats create another common slip and fall hazard. All types of floor coverings should have rubber along the perimeter and must be “feathered” or simply placed from a higher surface to a lower surface. To keep the edges of floor coverings down, a special carpet tape can be used underneath.
Plastic rain mats should be used, especially in inclement weather, to reduce the danger of slipping on a wet floor. Slippery surfaces can occur when carpets are badly worn down and people are walking in and out of a building. Property managers can protect their residents and visitors from a wet floor accident by replacing saturated mats, or using mops or wet vacuums, to remove water that may accumulate from snow, ice, or rain.
Slippery Pool Areas
Pool areas, especially in a condo or co-op building, are another common site for slip and fall injuries. Many buildings have residents sign waivers before using the pools or spas owned by the complex.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jay Edelstein
Philadelphia personal injury lawyer Jay L. Edelstein was born in 1955 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He attended Washington & Jefferson College, where he received his B.A. in 1976. He went onto Widener University School of Law (formerly Delaware Law School), receiving his J.D. in 1979.
Mr. Edelstein focuses his practice of law on the following areas: Insurance Litigation, Medical Malpractice, Construction Law, Contract Law, Contract Law and Litigation involving Common Carriers, Self-Insured Entities, Rental Car Agencies, and Municipalities. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 1979 and the New Jersey Bar in 1991.
Copyright Jay L. Edelstein, Attorney At Law
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.