Property owners have a duty of care toward guests on their property. This means that they must keep the property free of hazards that could cause slip and fall accidents. Failing to do so could mean that the property owner faces a lawsuit for their missteps in reasonably caring for the property.
For guests on a property, they have a reasonable expectation that the property is safe for them to visit. These guests must also pay attention and obey all posted signage. But when they do their part to keep themselves safe while on a property and still get injured, they might be able to seek compensation for such injuries.
Knowing the most common causes of slip and fall accidents in Indiana can help you keep an eye out when you’re on someone else’s property. You always want to prevent injuries while visiting a property. Here’s a look at eight of the most common slip and fall accident causes.
1. Wet Surfaces
A wet surface can be difficult to detect. But once you’re on top of it, you can find yourself slipping and falling to the ground in a matter of milliseconds. Always watch out for wet floor signs and obey those signs to the best of your ability.
Common sources of wet floors are:
- Entryways during rain as people track in the moisture
- Accidental spills, which are most commonly seen in grocery stores and restaurants
- Malfunctioning freezers that leak onto the floor
- Leaking water tanks
- A recent waxing or mopping job where the attendant forgot to put up a wet floor sign
2. Improper Lighting
Poor lighting in any area can lead to a slip and fall accident. Some of the most common places where poor lighting leads to such accidents are in stairwells where a person misses a step and trips.
Property owners need to give special attention to walkways when considering lighting. And if they offer any evening hours, they need to ensure the outside has adequate lighting to accommodate visitors and make it easy for them to navigate the area.
3. Poor Maintenance
Poor property maintenance can lead to a host of unsafe conditions for property visitors. These unsafe conditions might include:
- Loose floorboards
- Broken or damaged handrails
- Defective sidewalks
- Poor function of appliances or other devices that leak water, oil, or other slippery substances
4. Lack of a Railing
All major walkways should be clear of debris. If the surface is uneven, the property owner should ensure there is a railing. Railings prevent falls from high areas of a property but they can also prevent slip and fall accidents.
All stairways should be equipped with a railing to prevent such accidents. These railing should receive regular maintenance to make sure they are securely fastened to the wall so that if a person grabs hold of them, they help the person steady themselves and avoid falling in the stairwell.
5. Tears or Lumps in Carpeting
Carpeting wears with time and can become a slip and fall hazard. Carpet stretches as it wears, which can cause a lump in the carpet. These lumps can make a visitor trip and fall.
Property owners should maintain their carpeting with great care to prevent such conditions. And when carpeting tears in an area, they should get that fixed to avoid trip and fall accidents and a personal injury lawsuit.
6. Failure to Remove Snow and Ice
During the winter months, Indiana snow and ice storms present a hazard in parking lots and outdoor walkways. Property owners, including many homeowners, have a responsibility to clear this snow and ice to prevent serious accidents on their property.
Ice is especially dangerous since it’s very difficult to see on a surface, making it a prime location for slip and fall accidents. Within a reasonable time after a snow or ice storm, a property owner must remove snow and treat the surface to prevent ice and post warning signs about slipping hazards related to such dangerous surfaces.
7. Cords and Electrical Wires
Cords and electrical wires should be covered or strategically placed behind furniture to prevent trip and fall accidents. Exposed wires present a serious hazard for visitors who are not aware of their presence.
While visitors should always be paying close attention to where they are walking, cords are often dark in color and can be difficult to spot depending on the flooring surface.
8. Poor Parking Lot Maintenance
Potholes and lumps in a parking lot or sidewalk can lead to a trip and fall accident. Property owners should monitor the surface area of their outdoor property just as closely as they monitor the surface area of indoor walkways.
Indiana Slip and Fall Attorneys
Stewart & Stewart is a team of Indiana slip and fall attorneys. When you’re injured through no fault of your own, you need a legal team that can fight for your rights and your financial stability after large medical bills and missed work. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your slip and fall case with our team.