Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

causes slip and fall accident

A slip and fall or trip and fall can be a momentary inconvenience or cause serious injury. Falls are a leading cause of hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Millions of people visit hospital emergency rooms around the country for fall-related injuries each year. Serious falls are more common than you may think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 800,000 people are hospitalized each year for fall-related injuries.

A slip and fall can happen anywhere, at any time, with relatively simple causes. Here are some of the most common ways these injuries happen, along with some information about who may be responsible. Of course, this is just general information about slip and fall accidents. The best source of information about your claim is an experienced Florida slip and fall injury attorney.

How Do Slip and Fall Injuries Happen?

Some of the most common causes of slip and fall or trip and fall injuries include:

Wet or Slippery Surfaces

Many surfaces are slippery when wet, and that’s especially hazardous when someone walking in the area isn’t expecting to hit a slick spot. Some examples include:

  • A floor or other surface that has recently been washed or mopped and is not properly marked to warn that the surface may be slippery
  • Water or other liquid being tracked through an area, such as a rec center, shop, or hotel hallway adjoining a pool
  • A spill, such as detergent on a laundromat floor or fountain soda on the floor of a convenience store
  • Worn throw rugs that may slide when stepped on

Tripping Hazards

Tripping hazards come in two main categories: debris or items left where people may be walking, or problems with the walking surface itself. These may include:

  • Toys, garden tools, and other items left on the ground unattended
  • Rubble on the ground, such as a piece of broken concrete
  • Cords and other tripping hazards stretched across areas where people may be walking
  • Broken sidewalks, parking lots, or stairs that create uneven or unstable surfaces
  • Loose floorboards or carpeting
  • Small changes in level or steps up or down that are not clearly marked
  • Holes in the ground or uneven surfaces

Falls may also happen because stair rails are loose or there aren’t appropriate rails on ramps or stairs, or because there aren’t protective barriers in place where a level drops off or the barrier is faulty or poorly maintained. And, low visibility can also play a role, particularly in hallways, stairwells, and outdoor areas where there may be obstacles or unpredictable surfaces.

Why Do Slip and Fall Injuries Happen?

When you consider the list of common causes of slip and fall accidents above, you may notice a common thread: most of these injuries are avoidable.

For example, if a shopper slips on a freshly-mopped, unmarked floor in a local retail store, someone caused the condition that led to the fall. The most common scenario is that a store employee mopped the floor, then walked away and left it wet and slippery. Neither that employee nor management put up a sign to warn shoppers that the floor was slippery.

Similarly, if there’s an electrical cord stretched across a walkway, a rake left lying on the ground where people may be walking, or a stairway with a loose board that hasn’t been repaired or roped off, accidents happen–but they’re often accidents that wouldn’t have happened without someone acting negligently.

In some cases, there may be more than one contributing factor. For instance, if a patron at the movie theater drops their soda and simply walks away and leaves the puddle on the floor, they’ve created a hazard for others in the theater. But, the theater also has a responsibility to maintain the premises in safe condition for their guests. If someone tells the ticket-taker about the spill and no one cleans it up, or if it stays on the floor for long enough that the theater reasonably should have known about it and cleaned it up, they may be responsible for any injuries.

Inattention Can Also Play a Role in Fall Injuries

Most slips and trips happen because of a physical condition or obstacle, whether that’s an entry to a building with a slight change in level or someone having broken a bottle of fruit punch in the grocery store. But sometimes, the person who falls is partly responsible, too. For example, someone who is walking while looking down at their phone may trip on an obstacle that they could easily have avoided. Someone running against the rules near a swimming pool may slip on a wet surface, though they might not have slipped if they’d been walking.

When the injured person is partly responsible for their own injuries, it may impact their slip and fall claim. In most cases, the injured person will still be able to recover some damages from the other responsible party. But, those damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to the injury victim. For example, if the person who falls is found 10% responsible for the accident, they’ll only be able to recover 90% of their damages. And, if the injured person is found to be more than half at fault, they can’t recover damages at all.

Talk to a Florida Slip and Fall Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, that doesn’t automatically mean they are responsible for your injuries. But, if the property owner didn’t live up to their responsibilities or someone else’s carelessness caused your injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Depending on the specifics of your case, that may mean that the responsible party pays your medical bills, reimburses you for the income lost due to the accident, pays for other costs associated with your injury and recovery, and perhaps even compensates you for pain and suffering.

The earlier your slip and fall lawyer gets involved, the better. Contacting us for a free consultation with an injury lawyer as soon as possible will give us the best opportunity to investigate quickly and provide you with guidance before you take any action.