Career Woman

Slips and falls at work: Who’s to blame?

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Every year, thousands of workplace injuries are caused by a slip and fall accident. Who is to blame for this is often difficult to ascertain, and often the only resolution is to launch a slip and fall legal case. So why are these cases so difficult to apportion blame? The manner of them. Here are just a few of the many scenarios where you have to consider liability for a slip and fall accident.

A fall down stairs

Whose stairs? What were you wearing on your feet? Were you walking or running? These are just a few of the questions you will be asked if you are considering a claim for falling down stairs. If you rent an office space or building and have fallen down the stairs you will have to prove the stairs are defective and your landlord is therefore responsible. If you have fallen down some steps in a store, for example, several other factors come into play. If somebody in front of you drops something and you then stand on it or trip over it the store is not responsible. If the steps are wet, or there is some damage to them, then you could have a slip and fall claim.

A slip on a wet floor

Tiles are used on the floors of stores, hotels and many other businesses as they are hard wearing and easy to clean. However, when wet they can become lethal. A heavy fall on a tiled floor can result in broken bones or, at best, severe bruising. The questions that arise in this case will relate to why the floor was wet. Did the business know about it and put up wet floor signs? Was it water leaking from somewhere or liquid accidentally spilled and not reported? Only when all these questions, and many more, have been answered and investigated, can it be proven that somebody is to blame.

A fall on the Sidewalk or entrance area outside the business

This is one of the most common slip and fall scenarios. Sidewalks naturally depreciate with all human traffic they endure. Chips, holes, cracks are all acceptable wear and tear and unless there’s a huge hole that nobody has noticed, until you fell in it, you are going to have a hard time blaming someone for your trip. However, in some states, if you are injured in this way on your way to work or on your way home, there may be insurance coverage for it. But if the area is part of the entrance of the business, then the liability lies with the company. As with every case, however, there could be mitigating circumstances, so have a chat with your lawyer.

How to determine liability

For somebody to be legally responsible for any injuries you have suffered due to tripping or slipping and falling, one of the following must be proven;

  • An employee or owner of the premises must have caused any spillage, torn or worn area, or any other slippery and therefore dangerous area underfoot.
  • An employee or owner of the premises must have been aware of the danger but failed to do anything about it

When a spillage wasn’t the concern, an employee or the owner should have been aware of the dangerous surface as any reasonable person who works in, or takes care of, the property should have seen it and repaired it.

About Hannah Simpson

hannahs@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

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