Flooring with design defects and unsafe materials accounts for a large number of slip and fall accidents and injuries in public spaces.
Unsafe Floors Cause Serious Falls
Construction and design defects account for thousands of accidents and injuries in public spaces every year. Each year in the U.S., more than 800,000 people end up in hospital emergency rooms across the country due to slip and fall accidents. Many falls are caused by flooring materials that do not meet required safety regulations due to design defects, unsafe finishes, improper installation, and poor maintenance.
According to a slip and fall report by CNA, a professional risk management company, slip and fall liability claims in public spaces such as office buildings, retail stores, restaurants, and parking lots are very high every year. In Nevada, a slip and fall attorney frequently sees injuries that result from falls in hotels and casinos where pedestrian traffic is extremely high year-round. When flooring causes a sudden fall, injuries can be severe, especially if the fall is on hard-surface flooring. Common injuries include cuts and bruises, sprained or fractured hands and wrists, broken arms, legs, and hips, head trauma, and traumatic brain injuries.
Slip and falls can happen on soft-surface flooring such as carpeting or hard-surface flooring such as concrete, stone, wood, and tile. Common causes of falls include:
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Wet or slippery floors
- Damaged, frayed or loose carpeting
- Cracks in hard surfaces
- Non-slip-resistant finishes on hard surfaces
- Use of improper cleaning or maintenance materials
Elderly adults are especially vulnerable to slip and fall accidents that are often fatal. According to the National Council on Aging, seniors over the age of 65 have a one in four chance of falling. They seek medical emergency treatment for fall injuries every 11 seconds. In elderly adults, falls that are not fatal commonly result in severe injuries and long-term disabilities.
According to OSHA, slip and fall accidents account for the largest number of yearly workers’ compensation claims. Studies show that wet and/or slippery floors account for 25 percent of claims, while improper maintenance and housekeeping problems account for 16 percent. Although some slip and fall accidents are prevented by paying close attention to one’s surroundings, others simply catch people off guard. Unexpected spills, torn or damaged carpeting, uneven tiled surfaces, and cracks in concrete cause thousands of serious falls to workers and pedestrians every year.