Many falls are preventable and occur because a property owner failed to do something to make it safer for you during your visit to the premises. A fall can result in serious injuries that may require long-term treatment and care.
There are different types of falls that can occur under different circumstances. The following information comes primarily from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, but it is also applicable to falls unrelated to work.
A trip occurs when your foot comes in contact with an obstacle while you are walking. You can lose your balance when your foot strikes the obstacle if you are moving with enough momentum. Examples of obstacles that could cause a trip include:
- A piece of merchandise that store workers failed to pick up
- A roll in a rug or floor mat
- An uneven section of sidewalk or crack in a sidewalk
- Door jam lip that catches your foot
- Uneven surface in a parking lot that hides a hole
A slip occurs because of a loss of traction between your foot and the ground. When one or both of your feet lose traction, they can slide out from under you, causing you to fall. You can be more likely to slip based on the type of shoes that you wear or the speed at which you walk. However, slips can also occur due to a property owner’s negligence.
Slips can occur either inside or outside. Though the property owner cannot control weather conditions, he or she does have a responsibility to keep the sidewalk clear and free from hazards. It is also the responsibility of the owner to put down floor mats inside to prevent puddles from forming because of people tracking in water from outside. The owner must also post warnings whenever the floor may be wet and slippery due to wet conditions outside or clean-up efforts inside.