Slip and fall accidents are a major cause of concern for businesses, especially during the winter months. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), “falls are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for nearly 32,000 deaths in 2014.”
In addition to the above, in 2014, nearly 600 people died in fall-related accidents in the workplace, and another 47,000 were injured in a fall, the NSC reports. The risk of injury in a fall-related accident is of top concern for businesses that experience a substantial amount of foot traffic, especially during the winter months when ice and puddles lead to dangerous conditions.
Restaurants, office buildings, apartment buildings, retail stores, grocery stores, and other businesses that have a lot of visitors must take precautions to avoid slip and fall accidents. Otherwise, negligent property owners can be held liable when employees and other “invited guests,” such as customers, vendors, and contractors are injured in a slip and fall accident because an unsafe condition existed.
All property owners with any measurable foot traffic must be aware that unsafe conditions during the winter months are a major cause for concern. When there is an unsafe condition, such as ice in the parking lot or water in an entryway, it’s an accident just waiting to happen.
Duty of Property Owners to Reduce Slips and falls
Some of the major injuries caused by slip and fall accidents in the winter include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and spinal cord injuries. If the injured party is elderly or extremely young, the consequences can be devastating under the right conditions.
Property owners cannot ignore that wintertime snow, ice, and water from wet shoes increases the risks of slips and falls inside the building’s entrance, on walkways just outside the building, and in parking lots. So, to reduce the risk of slip and fall injuries in the winter, property owners must:
- Ensure that all walking paths inside and outside the building are properly illuminated
- Mark dangerous spots, such as slippery areas outside with orange cones or caution tape
- Properly maintain walkways with salt during the winter
- Be sure to remove re-melted snow and ice after salt has been applied
- Mop entrances and exits regularly as to prevent the accumulation of water
- Place “wet floor” signs at the entrance and exits to reduce the risk of slips and falls
- Educate managers and employees on reducing slips and falls during the winter
Were you, or someone you love injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s premises due to unsafe wintertime conditions? If so, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner or lessee for your damages.
To learn more about filing a slip and fall claim, please contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law to speak with a New Jersey personal injury attorney!