Slip and fall accidents are among the top causes of injuries in the United States. According to the CDC, one in five falls causes serious injury, such as a head injury or broken bones. Additionally, over 800,000 people are hospitalized every year due to an injury sustained after a fall.
While these statistics can refer to people who have fallen from a height, such as from a ladder or a roof, they also include falls that occur as the result of someone slipping or tripping on something and then falling.
While a slip and fall accident can happen genuinely by accident, meaning it wasn’t really anyone’s fault, many of these accidents are preventable. If property owners were more careful and mindful of hazards on their property, for example, they could help reduce the number of slip and fall accidents that occur each year.
In this article, we’ll offer tips on how to prevent slip and fall accidents. If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident, however, know that you may be entitled to compensation to help you pay for the damages you have suffered.
If you have questions about a slip and fall accident claim, our team of Maryland slip and fall accident lawyers at Zirkin & Schmerling are here to help. Contact us today to speak to a legal expert about your slip and fall accident.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Before we dive into the tips on how to avoid slip and fall accidents, let’s take a look at how serious these accidents can be. As mentioned above, thousands of people are hospitalized every year due to fall-related injuries. While some of those injuries can be minor and heal relatively quickly, others can be quite severe and even life-threatening.
A head injury, for example, is common after a slip and fall, and some head injuries can lead to brain damage and other issues, such as seizures, brain bleeding, memory loss, cognitive problems, and even coma. In some cases, a serious head injury after a slip and fall can be fatal.
Aside from head and traumatic brain injuries, some of the other common slip and fall injuries include:
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Broken bones (especially broken hips and broken wrists)
- Bruising and lacerations
- Neck injuries
How to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents
Whether you are a homeowner or the owner of some other type of property, such as a business, it is important that you take preventative measures to avoid visitors (or yourself) from slipping and falling on your property. Property owners can be held liable in some cases if a person slips and injures themselves, especially if the hazard that caused the incident was known and could have been dealt with prior to the slip and fall.
1. Keep Spaces Clutter Free
All areas where people commonly walk should be kept clutter-free. If there is a mess of items cluttering common walkways and paths, this can easily lead to someone slipping or tripping and falling. In a store, for example, this could look like boxes of shipment cluttering an aisle or aisles simply being overcrowded with too much product.
2. Keep Up with Routine Maintenance
Another common cause of slip or trip and fall accidents is broken flooring or structural deficiencies stemming from a lack of maintenance. This can include broken sidewalks or indoor flooring like hardwood planks or tiles that are broken and create an uneven walking surface. The best way to prevent visitors from tripping and falling over these hazards is to keep up with routine maintenance and have the hazard fixed as soon as possible.
3. Be Mindful of Stairways and Use Handrails
Stairwells are common areas where people can fall and seriously injure themselves. As such, it’s crucial for property owners to pay extra attention to stairwells on the premises. Keep stairwells well-lit, ensure they have secure handrails, and make sure they are clean and free of objects or moisture that could cause someone to slip and fall.
You can also use reflective tape on the steps to make them more visible. Using grip strips can also help if the steps easily become slick or slippery.
4. Secure Cords and Wires
If you have cords running across common paths or walkways, this is a sure way to cause someone to trip and fall. Avoid running wires and cords through common areas if possible. However, if this can’t be avoided, make sure the cord is secured to the ground or covered so no one will trip over it. If the cord is in the way because of maintenance that is being performed, make sure to place signs to direct people to be cautious and go a different direction if possible.
5. Ensure all Areas Are Well-Lit
Proper lighting is key to helping visitors easily see where they are walking. If there are any areas on your property that are not lit very well, this could increase the risk of someone tripping or slipping and falling. So keep the lights on and install new lights if needed for areas that are often a little darker.
6. Use Non-Skid Rugs
If you have any surfaces on your property that are notorious for being slippery or slick, try using non-skid rugs to resolve the issue. For example, many tiled surfaces do not provide good grip, and depending on the type of shoes a person is wearing, they could more easily slip and fall. Laying down some non-skid rugs can help, or you could consider replacing the flooring with a different material.
7. Clean and Tidy Spaces Regularly
Good housekeeping is important to ensure your spaces are always clean and tidy. When dust, dirt, and grime accumulate on surfaces, it can increase the chances of someone slipping and falling. Messy spaces, in general, no matter what is causing the mess, are more likely to lead to someone slipping or tripping. So make sure you maintain a regular cleaning schedule to prevent falls from happening.
8. Keep an Eye Out for Wet Surfaces
As you can imagine, any hard surface that becomes wet creates a slip hazard. As such, it’s important to keep an eye out for any spilled liquids that need to be cleaned up right away. On rainy days or during the winter when you are dealing with snow and ice, it’s also important to be vigilant about keeping floors clean and dry. If you have outdoor walkways, you will also need to keep them cleared of snow and ice to ensure visitors have a safe path to walk onto your property.
Be Proactive When a Slip and Fall Occurs
If you notice something that is causing a problem or that has already led to someone slipping and falling, it’s important to be proactive about taking measures to prevent future slip and falls for the same reason. For example, if you notice that people constantly keep slipping in your entryway, you may want to consider laying down some rugs or changing the flooring to something less slippery. The more proactive you are about these sorts of things, the less likely you are to have visitors slipping and falling on your property.
Have a Legal Question? Our Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers Have Answers.
If you were the one injured due to a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. Property owners can be held liable for slip and fall accidents in certain cases, so if you think you might have cause for filing a claim or even if you aren’t sure, reach out to our team of personal injury lawyers at Zirkin & Schmerling as soon as possible.
We offer free consultations and can evaluate your case. If we think you have a valid complaint, we can help you file your claim and ensure the property owner is held liable. Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our slip and fall lawyers today.