Given the amount of time spent on our feet every day, it is hardly surprising that injuries from falls are so common. These injuries range from bruises and scrapes to paralysis or even severe brain injury. How falls affect people depend on how and where they fall as well as their physical condition and natural agility. In every case of an accidental fall, something about the slipping or tripping surface took the person by surprise because of inattention, poor visibility, or a hidden or unexpected hazard.
While inattention, poor visibility, and hidden hazards are easy enough to understand, the term unexpected hazard requires more explanation. When you walk in a store, it is not reasonable to assume that such a place would have a floor as slippery as a skating rink. If you fall and injure yourself, the store owner cannot say that you should have been looking intently at the floor for shiny wet spots. Although the store owner should have placed a visible warning of the slippery surface, it is still a good idea to be alert to these kinds of hazards. Here is a list of common slip, trip, and fall hazards to keep in mind:
- Clutter. These are objects that cause you to slip or trip. Perhaps the most treacherous objects are wires and cords which cause no problems when you step directly on top of them (unless you have heels) but can snag your foot if it is placed in front of them. Clutter only presents a hazard when they are in areas meant for walking as opposed to being inside a locked closet.
- Irregularities. Man-made walking environments are flat, even, and regular. Any deviation from this is a hazard. Sometimes a floor may have a small step in it or a raised tile edge. A carpet can have a fold or tear in it that catches the foot. Everyone expects stairs to have even steps and often time their gait on this regularity. This is why stairs with uneven steps are so dangerous.
- Slippery surfaces. These are commonly created by a film of water or oil that reduces friction. Keeping your eyes fixated on the floor to spot these hazards only sets you up for other types of accidents. However, there are common situations to watch for such as the floor just inside a store entrance on a rainy or snowy day or the area around workers mopping a floor. Metal surfaces or sloped surfaces also invite falls when wet.
- Poor lighting. Poor lighting hides the hazards previously discussed. It also increases the risk of injury from a fall because we rely on vision to catch ourselves. Things that are obvious in good light such as steps in front of a door, become invisible in poor lighting.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip, trip, and fall hazard while on someone else’s property, our personal injury attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. We have helped injury victims throughout the Greensboro and Winston-Salem areas. For a free consultation, contact us.