Myers & Company November Newsletter 2017
We handle a lot of car accident cases. But that’s not all we do. People get hurt when they’re not in their cars.
One way people get hurt is by falling. You can fall at any time. But it seems like slip and fall cases are somewhat seasonal. Rain, snow and ice all make falling more likely.
Outdoor HazardsSome slip and fall accidents can't be prevented. But most can.
A lot of people think about slip and fall accidents in terms of snow and ice on the ground. There's definitely a duty for property owners to clear snow and ice. But you're on guard when it's icy--you're not when it drizzles. The majority of slip and fall accidents happen after it rains.
Concrete gets slippery when moss and algae are allowed to grow on it. And it's hard to detect the hazard when there's a only a microlayer of moss and algae on sidewalks and on the stairs.
Every big hardware store sells moss and algae killer. It's easy to apply. If you don't have any, diluted bleach kills moss and algae too.
Under Washington law property owners are responsible for maintaining reasonably safe walking surfaces. Outdoor stairs and walkways need to be slip resistant. If you have a slip and fall outside--even if it's not snowy or icy--we're happy to investigate to see whether someone else might be responsible for your damages.
Outdoor CaseWe represented a client who fell outside a condominium complex in Bellevue. She had on sensible boots with lugged traction soles. But as she walked down the exterior stairs she slipped and fell. At first the insurance company for the complex pushed back. But when we showed a close-up of the moss and algae on the nose of the stair where she fell it paid a settlement just south of $100,000.
Indoor HazardsWet weather increases the odds of a slip and fall outside. It also increases the odds of a slip and fall inside.
People get wet outside. They track water inside. And water drips off their coats and umbrellas.
There are basically two ways that property owners and businesses should deal with wet weather. First, they should have adequate mats at entries for people to dry their shoes. Second, they should have slip resistant floors (that aren't dangerous when water gets on them).
A simple and effective way to maintain floors in a dry condition is through the use of mats. Entrance matting improves overall floor performance by keeping the floor in a dry, clean, condition. The depth of the mat, and its ability to absorb water, are paramount.
Footprints should not be seen past the last mat at an entrance.
Lots of businesses have mats. But they're almost always inadequate.
In addition to proper mats, businesses and property owners need to have slip-resistant floors. The hazards associated with wet floors can be eliminated installing floors that have a higher coefficient of friction/slip resistance rating.
Slip and fall accidents can be prevented outside. It's even easier to prevent them inside. It's just a question of whether having a safe environment is more important than saving money.
Indoor CaseWe represented a client who fell at a local coffee shop. The mats were too small. Customers tracked in water. The floor was slippery when wet. At mediation the coffee shop capitulated and paid a six figure settlement.