One example of a dangerous walking condition is an uneven walk surface which, unfortunately, is a frequent cause of falls. People often trip on a sidewalk that is cracked or heaved up by tree roots or a street or parking lot with potholes. Poor lighting can make uneven spots hard to see. In the North, icy or snow-covered sidewalks are a frequent problem in winter, but even in the South, ice underfoot can be a winter hazard. To ensure safety, property owners are required to clear sidewalks and parking lots of ice and snow and put down sand or salt to reduce slipperiness.
Tripping hazards do not only exist outdoors. There are similar potential hazards indoors. Loose floor tiles or uneven or warped floorboards can lead to a fall. Loose or bulging carpet, floor mats and scatter rugs that do not stay in place or have curled edges contribute to falls, as can broken or slippery stair treads. Wires can trip someone crossing a room. Wet floors are a serious hazard and building owners and cleaning crews must take care to warn the public about a wet floor. For this reason, supermarkets need to be careful not to allow spilled products on the floor for long periods of time.
Laws require property owners or their employees to be alert to dangerous conditions and remove obstacles or make repairs. In determining responsibility in a trip-and-fall accident, a key question is whether a reasonable person would have identified the condition as hazardous, and whether the property owner had ample opportunity to remedy the situation before the fall occurred. Could the hazardous condition have been made less dangerous through such measures such as moving an obstacle or placing warning signs in the area, or using some sort of barrier to prevent access to the location?
The experienced attorneys in the Florida offices of Parker Waichman LLP have been instrumental in obtaining settlements for people injured in trip-and-fall accidents. The injured person may face significant medical and rehabilitation expenses, in some cases lifelong care, and deserves adequate compensation.
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