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What Conditions Can Cause A Slip & Fall Or A Trip & Fall Accident To Occur?
The term “slip and fall” is actually a misleading term. A better way to describe these situations is to think of them in terms of dangerous conditions. These cases usually involve some type of deceptive or unexpected condition such as poor or non-existent lighting, the absence of railings, stairways constructed in violation of building codes, uneven sidewalks and other walking surfaces, unpainted traffic safety barriers in shopping center parking lots, wet and slippery surfaces where none is expected, such as inside a retail store or other public building.
How Does Comparative Or Contributory Negligence Impact Personal Injury Cases Resulting From Slip And Fall Or Trip And Fall Accidents?
The concept of comparative fault is at the forefront of virtually every slip and fall case. That is because each and every such case has a built-in defense, and that is, “why didn’t you watch where you were going?” Another problem that comes up in this type of case is the issue of causation. The injured person must be able to articulate precisely what caused him or her to fall. It is not enough to say that the floor was wet and then I found myself on the ground. A better answer might be “the railing broke, which caused me to lose my balance, which caused me to fall to the ground.” Another example might be, “the concrete crumbled, my foot slipped out, I lost my balance and fell to the ground.”
What Are Examples Where A Store Owner Would Not Be Held Liable Because A Reasonable Person Would Have Avoided A Slip & Fall Or Trip & Fall Accident?
In Washington, store owners need only act reasonably under the circumstances. For example, grocery store owners know from experience that customers can drop and break liquid containers, which results in spills. Therefore, the prudent store owner should have in place a protocol which provides, at a minimum, for regular, documented aisle inspections to identify spills, the placement of warning signs, the posting of an employee to warn others of the spill, and immediate cleanup. Most people would conclude that under those circumstances, the store owner acted reasonably and was not negligent. The kinds of lighting and floor waxes used can also be problematic because some lighting can cause deceptive visual conditions for customers who are used to looking only at the store products instead of up of the lights or down at the floor. Lighting experts can help the store management with this issue. The use of nonskid, non-glare floor waxes is an industry standard in large retail stores nowadays, at least in the state of Washington. By following these procedures, the store can demonstrate that it is aware of and attentive to customer safety issues.
For more information on Slip & Fall Or Trip & Fall Accidents, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (425) 451-8333 today.
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