According to the American Bar Association, there are 76,000 personal injury lawyers in the United States. There is a simple reason for this staggering number: money.
Here are a few facts to consider
- The average slip and fall case is $50,000 to defend.
- The average slip and fall award is $28,000.
- Slip and falls are the #1 cause of accidents in hotels, restaurants, and public buildings.
- 70% of these accidents occur on level, flat surfaces.
The internet is riddled with information on how to win a slip and fall case. You will also find a fortune being spent by attorneys to market their services to victims. Aside from the amount of the potential payday, these attorneys are well aware of the process they must follow to win the case.
You, as a property manager or business owner, must be proactive or will have a very difficult time winning a case brought against you. This is very clearly laid out in the legal definition of negligence, which is defined as: “Failure to use a reasonable amount of care when such failure results in injury or damage to another.”
Slip and fall, in United States tort law, is a claim or case based on a person slipping (or tripping) and actually falling. It is a tort based on a claim that the property owner was negligent in allowing some dangerous condition to exist that caused the slip or trip.
Property owners generally have two basic defenses to slip and fall claims:
- The first defense is that they were not negligent. For example, the owner may claim the water that a patron slipped upon had been dropped on the floor only moments ago by another patron, and that a typical store owner acting with reasonable care would not have had time to discover the danger and take steps to mitigate.
- The second, and more typical defense, is that the person who was injured was at fault. For example, the owner may claim that any reasonable patron, exercising due diligence for his or her own safety, would see the water spilled on the floor and take the steps necessary to avoid slipping on it.
In either defense example, it seems you have a reasonable argument. The problem with slippery floors, bathtubs, pool decks, etc., is that the owner or manager will always be aware that certain surfaces are dangerous when they become wet.
When it rains, a store manager puts out wet floors signs near the entrance. When the restaurant mops the floor, the manager displays signs that say: Caution Wet Floor. When something is spilled, the grocery store manager puts out wet floor signs.
It’s evident that these big, gaudy looking signs are not being displayed for their aesthetic value. They are used to alert patrons that the floors are slippery and dangerous. With the knowledge that these surfaces are dangerous when wet, coupled with the fact that you place signs to warn people, it is evident that you are aware that the floors are dangerous when they are wet.
However, an attorney could make the case that even though the floor was wet, and even though you displayed a sign, you knew there was a problem but you did not fix it. A sign is just a patch. So a patch is not, in the eyes of US law, ‘reasonable care.’
You have options to repair your slippery floor. So before you are defending yourself in court, think about SafeGrip.