Injuries from Slipping on Recently-Mopped Flooring
Over eight million hospital emergency room visits each year are the direct result of a fall, while slip and falls account for approximately 12% of that total. Though most of us think of icy sidewalks, work accidents or unsound stairs or railings when we think of slip and fall accidents, a large number of slip and falls occur in grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, malls, and other public places. These types of slip and falls can occur from a spilled substance, which was not cleaned up in a timely manner, or from a freshly mopped floor, with no warning signs. Because many floors in these types of places are highly polished, customers can have difficulty seeing a wet surface.
For those who think a slip and fall on a wet surface results in little more than a couple of bruises—as well as bruised pride—slip and fall accidents can actually be quite serious. Additional statistics regarding slip and falls include:
- More than 540,000 slip and fall injuries which occur in North America will require hospital care.
- Slip and falls account for more than 300,00 disabling injuries per year.
- Slip and falls are particularly serious for senior citizens—one in three seniors who experience a serious bone break will die within one year of the accident.
- Across North America, slip and falls account for 55 fatalities every day.
- The number one cause of accidents in public buildings, hotels and restaurants are slippery floors, resulting in a fall; 70 percent of these happen on a level surface.
Can I recover from a store for injuries sustained when I slipped on a spilled liquid and fell?
What to Do Following a Slip and Fall
Women over the age of sixty are the most likely to become injured in a slip and fall injury although any person can become a victim of a hazardous, negligent situation in a public place. Slip and falls in grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, malls and other public places can lead to serious injury; even though there may be no immediate or visible signs of injury it is important the victim of the fall seek immediate medical attention. In many cases injury symptoms manifest later on, after the adrenaline from the fall has worn off. Management should also be immediately informed of the accident and, if the victim is able, statements from any potential witnesses to the accident as well as photos of the accident site should be gathered before that evidence is gone for good.
Who is Responsible for Your Slip and Fall Injury?
If you are involved in a slip and fall accident resulting from a recently-mopped floor, your attorney must show your accident was caused by a dangerous condition which existed on the property (the slippery mopped floor), and that the owner was aware of that condition. Presence of a dangerous condition means there was an unreasonable risk of harm to those on the property. The condition must be one which a reasonable person could not have anticipated. This means consumers are responsible for being alert to any obvious hazards or to notice signs warning of existing hazards. In order to show the property owner was aware of the hazardous condition, the following must be proven:
- The owner of the property or its employees were aware of the slick, recently-mopped floor, and failed to place appropriate signs to warn of the hazardous condition; or
- The hazardous condition existed for a sufficient length of time that a reasonable property owner or employees would have discovered the hazard and made immediate corrections or placed a warning sign to the public in the hazard area in the exercise of reasonable care.
The person walking, as well as the property owner, both have some degree of responsibility in a slip and fall accident. However, the owner must show that reasonable care was taken to prevent harm to the public. While a spilled drink might not be noticed by the property owner or an employee for a certain length of time, a mopped floor would absolutely be noticed by at least one person—the person who mopped the floor. Every business should have a procedure in place for ensuring there are signs warning of a freshly mopped floor. This means the following questions will need to be answered for a slip and fall which occurred because of a freshly-mopped, slick floor.
- Does the property owner have a normal procedure for warning the public of a freshly mopped floor?
- Is there proof of that procedure?
- Did a legitimate reason exist for the hazard of a freshly mopped floor—i.e., was the floor mopped to clean up a spill or to clean up ice and snow which had been tracked in, or could the floor have been mopped after hours when no customers were present?
- Was there a method of increasing the safety in the area of the fall?
- Was a warning sign or barrier in place for the known hazards of a freshly mopped floor?
Of course if the owner can prove the person who fell was careless, or ignored warning signs, this will certainly play a part in determining the overall liability for the slip and fall accident. Premises liability law governs slip and falls as well as other accidents in which a home or business owner is responsible for injuries suffered by visitors to the premises. If the owner or responsible party knew or should have known of the dangerous condition or failed to exercise reasonable care to correct the condition or warn visitors of its presence, then they may be liable for the resulting injuries.
Where to Turn for Legal Help
If you or a loved one in in the areas of Horn Lake, Olive Branch, Southaven or Desoto County, have suffered a serious slip and fall as a result of a freshly mopped floor, you deserve experienced legal assistance from Stroud, Flechas & Dalton. We want to make sure you receive equitable compensation for your injuries. Call Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today at (662) 536-5656 for the compassionate, experienced assistance you deserve.