Accidents Due to Falls From Slippery Surfaces (other than ice and snow)
Falls on slippery surfaces are the second most frequently occurring accidents that lead to personal injury. Such accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor bruising and lacerations, to serious head or back injuries and broken bones. In fact, the Maine Bureau of State Risk Management lists slip and fall accidents as one of the top five causes of workers’ compensation claims.
A slip occurs when there is too little traction between the shoe and the walking surface, which can be due to wet spots, polished floors, ice or snow, grease, and the like. A fall occurs when, as a result of slipping, you are too far off-balance and come into contact with the ground or another object.
The most common cause of slip and falls are wet or slippery surfaces. Slippery surfaces exist all around you, from your home and office to your neighborhood grocery store and the sidewalk you stride upon to get there. The following is a list of some slippery surfaces that most commonly lead to injury:
- The Bathroom — due to the constant accumulation of moisture in the bathroom and the existence of hard tile floors, bathrooms are a frequent ground for slip and falls. Falls in bathrooms can occur in your home as well in commercial bathrooms, such as hotels or gyms. Studies show falls happen most often when an individual is exiting the tub or shower, likely as this is when the floor and your feet are covered in water.
- Retail Stores and Restaurants — many restaurants and retail stores, including grocery stores, utilize tile or concrete flooring. While this makes clean up easier for the business, it also leads to more falls. Restaurants and grocery stores add to this slipping hazard by mopping out of necessity, often during business hours. Further, objects dropped or spilled on the floor of local businesses regularly lead to slip and falls.
- Sidewalks — often cited as the most common place for falls, thousands of individuals slip and fall on sidewalks each year. While some accidents are a result of trips, many are due to the slippery surfaces that so often exist during inclement weather. Snow and ice create hazardous conditions for walkers, sending many sprawling to the ground each winter. Rain can additionally cause danger, as can spilled substances like oil.
Under Maine premises liability law, property owners have a duty to maintain their property in reasonably safe condition. This means minimizing slippery surface conditions and providing adequate warning of such hazards. This legal requirement to maintain the property will generally apply to customers, guests, tenants, and anyone lawfully on the property. The property owner’s duty of care further extends to adjoining sidewalks.
Victims of slip and fall accidents involving slippery surfaces may have the right to recover from the property owner who negligently created or failed to correct the unsafe condition leading to the accident. Negligence can be demonstrated in one of three ways:
- The property owner or possessor created the unsafe condition; or
- The property owner or possessor knew of the condition’s existence and failed to correct it; or
- The condition was such that the property owner or possessor should have known of it and taken corrective measures.
At Peter Thompson & Associates, we understand firsthand the potentially devastating impact a slip and fall accident can have on your life. If you are injured in this manner, the expert attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates can help. Voted the best personal injury lawyer, Peter Thompson is dedicated to his clients and their success. Call us today at 1 800.804.2004 to schedule an initial consultation. Our offices are conveniently located in Falmouth, Bangor and Portland. We look forward to providing you with superior legal representation.