A surprisingly common accident that impacts customers visiting businesses is a slip and fall incident. This is when something in the environment causes you to lose balance and fall to the ground.
If you’re lucky, you’ll walk away with just a bruise and some minor pain. In more serious situations, you can sustain a permanent injury or even death in the wrong circumstances.
To put things into perspective, falls cause 8 million yearly emergency room visits. This speaks to how frequently they happen and just how devastating they can be.
Avoiding a slip and fall accident requires you to understand what situations make one more likely. To get you started, we’ll point out four of the most hazardous situations that you should steer clear of and exercise extra caution for below.
One of the biggest reasons for slip and fall accidents is wet walkways.
Walking on dry floors isn’t difficult to do, but adding in water or another liquid makes things complicated. Especially with an already slick floor, moisture makes it difficult to grip the ground and plant your feet.
A good example of this is falling in the grocery store on spilled milk that can’t be seen on white flooring.
The problem with wet walkways is that you aren’t expecting it to be wet. If you know beforehand that the floor is wet due to a wet floor sign or a worker warning you, then you can tread carefully to avoid slipping.
Businesses must notify any customers when their floors are wet. If they fail to do so promptly, then their inaction is negligent and the cause of any resulting injuries.
Another issue with the flooring is when it’s poorly maintained.
Business floors should be kept in good shape to avoid any imperfections that might trip you. Something like a loose tile, peeling carpeting, or uneven ground can catch you off guard and cause you to fall.
You likely aren’t watching the floor as you walk, so you may not notice these defects in time to avoid hitting them. When your focus is elsewhere and you aren’t quite sure what’s happening, tripping can easily lead to a hard fall if you don’t catch yourself.
One situation where things get a little tricky is if you fall on a poorly maintained sidewalk in front of a business. Most states do require businesses to keep any sidewalks in front or to the side of their establishment in good shape.
However, if the government is responsible for the sidewalk that injures you, then it becomes much harder to prove negligence and seek compensation.
This gives you another reason to carefully watch where you’re walking at all times. It’s not on you to notice abnormal things that will cause you to fall, but doing so will ensure your safety.
Any clutter or unnecessary objects on the ground can also lead to a slip and fall accident.
Again, this is a situation of not expecting anything unordinary on the ground and failing to see it. You may think that it would be easy to notice a large object in front of you, but some situations make it difficult.
For example, you might walk around the corner of an aisle and trip on a box that’s hidden around the corner. Alternatively, you may notice some clutter and move awkwardly to avoid it and end up falling anyway.
Any walkway should be free of objects and debris. An obstructed walkway is a demonstration of negligence and unnecessarily endangers you.
Lastly, an overarching condition that makes any environment more dangerous is inadequate lighting.
While you aren’t likely to be closely watching the ground for spills, imperfections, and clutter, you can still notice these things in your peripherals and while glancing around.
However, this becomes impossible when the lighting is poor. If you’re having a hard time seeing, you’ll focus more on your inability to see than ensuring that you don’t stumble over anything.
All areas of a business must be well-lit to avoid accidents and injuries. If you fell because you couldn’t see what was in front of you, then the business acted negligently by providing inadequate lighting.
You might think that a slipping and falling accident isn’t a concern for you, but it can affect anyone who isn’t expecting it. Slip and fall injuries are common and some situations make them more likely.
A few particularly risky factors for slip and fall accidents include wet walkways, poorly maintained flooring, clutter, and inadequate lighting. Being in an establishment with one or more of these conditions is highly dangerous and a reason for caution.
All it takes is one bad fall to permanently change your life. Make sure to always watch where you’re walking and never assume it’s safe to walk somewhere.