Why Do ‘Slip and Fall’ Accidents Happen?

From misjudging steps to sliding on oily or wet surfaces, there are many causes of “slip and fall” accidents. But there’s one cause that’s highly preventable, according to a study by insurance provider CNA—and that is the type of flooring. The article in Claims Journal reported that half of the floors tested in a study failed to produce enough friction. That means businesses leave themselves open to potential accidents because of a poor floor purchasing decision.

The report indicated that retail and real estate businesses are most at risk for slip and fall accidents. According to the study:

  • 40 percent of such accidents occurred on entry flooring
  • 33 percent happened on parking lot surfaces, and
  • 27 percent happened on sidewalks leading to business entrances

Less than one percent occurred on interior floors.

The study also uncovered that, over time, slip and fall claims occur more frequently. The report advised business to take steps to minimize the potential for accidents, including choosing flooring that is slip resistant, testing it under wet conditions, and using cleaning agents recommended for that floor type.

Did you or someone you love suffer injuries from a slip and fall? Contact us to discuss your legal options: send us a message online or call 215-751-0100.

Injured PA Workers May Receive More Benefits

A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court changed how injured workers are evaluated, opening the way for extended workers’ compensation benefits. “The court’s decision eliminated the practice of using the American Medical Association guidelines to place a cap on benefits paid out to severely injured workers,” reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Until now, workers’ compensation law allowed companies to revisit injuries two years later and evaluate them as a percentage based on the AMA guidelines. If an injury fell below the 50 percent threshold, companies could reduce or cap the payments.

It’s important to note that a work injury doesn’t always fall solely within the realm of workers’ compensation benefits: if the injury happened because of a defective product/equipment or someone’s negligence, you could receive damage awards for medical costs, missed work or pain and suffering.

At Shaffer & Gaier, consultations are always free. Contact us online or call 215-751-0100, and we’ll discuss the details of your case.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit—The Standard of Care

slip and fallIf you’ve been hurt because of the actions of another person—in a motor vehicle accident, because of a dangerous or defective product, or in a slip and fall—you have a right to pursue compensation for your losses by filing a civil suit for damages. In most instances, the legal theory you’ll use to pursue monetary compensation will be based on allegations of negligence. The necessary elements of negligence are:

  • Breach of a duty to use reasonable care
  • Causation
  • Actual injury

This blog looks at the duty to reasonable care. To learn about causation or what constitutes actual injury, see those blogs.

The Standard of Care for Negligence

The principles of law governing negligence are generally not found in statutes, but in what is known as the “common law,” based on written opinions handed down by judges over the past few centuries. One of the fundamental concepts related to negligence is the assumption that all people have a duty, in everything they do, to exercise a certain level of care, so as not to put others at risk of injury or harm. Accordingly, whether you’re driving a car, erecting a building or set of stairs, manufacturing or marketing a product, or operating a power tool, it’s expected that you will act as a reasonable person would. If you don’t, you will be considered to have “breached” the duty of care.

That begs the question—how does the law define “reasonable care”? For the most part, it actually doesn’t. Both what constitutes reasonable care and whether the defendant exercised or breached the duty to exercise reasonable care are considered issues of fact, to be determined by the jury (or the judge, if there is no jury). Accordingly, what constitutes reasonable care may vary from case to case, based in the fact situation. Prior cases addressing similar fact situations typically act as precedent…a court can conclude that because a prior jury found certain behavior unreasonable, it does as well. But ultimately, it’s an issue of fact that is not subject to appeal.

Once you’ve established the breach, you must then show that the wrongful act caused injury.

Contact the Law Office of Shaffer & Gaier, L.L.C.

At Shaffer & Gaier, we offer a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment, contact us online or call our office in Philadelphia at 215-751-0100, or in New Jersey at 856-429-0970. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will travel to your home, if necessary, to meet with you.

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