Slip fall liability is rapidly climbing the litigation action ladder. According to Worksafe one of the most common kind of accident is caused by loosing traction on a wet or slippery floor, external access surface, or tripping on stairs.
It is commonplace for things to fall or drip on a floor during the normal course of any day, therefore the owner or manager of property cannot always be held responsible for immediately picking up or cleaning every slippery substance on a floor. Nor is the property owner always responsible for someone slipping or tripping on something that we should expect to find there or should see and avoid. We all have an obligation to watch where we’re going.
There is no precise way to explain when an owner or occupier of property is legally responsible for something causing you to slip or trip. Each case turns on whether the owner acted with a duty of care to ensure visitors were not likely to slip or trip on their premises.
To be held legally responsible for the injuries you suffered from slipping or tripping and falling, the owner of the premises or the owner’s employee:
• must have been aware of the slippery or dangerous nature of the surface or item underfoot.
• should have known the slippery or dangerous material was on the floor, stair, or ground because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have taken all necessary and reasonable steps to mitigate the risk.
What are “Reasonable Steps” to reduce Slip fall liability?
Rain is one of the most common contaminates leading to slip fall accidents, however over time pedestrian surfaces can become cracked, torn, or worn and slippery, and ground can become loose, broken, or unusually slippery. A person who is responsible for property must make some regular effort to check the walking safety of the premises and to do some repair and clean-up with safety in mind. On the other hand, the law does not require a premises owner to stand by round the clock to repair or clean up instantly anything that is broken, dropped, or spilled.
The law concentrates on the reasonableness of risk neutralizing efforts. Someone who makes regular and thorough efforts to keep property safe is less likely to be found in a slip fall liability case than an owner who neglects the premises. But usually accident claims arise when the owner or manager of a property was proven to be aware of a risk but did not take reasonable action to reduce that risk.