Slips and falls may be seemingly minor incidents that can prove dangerous, especially for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for those over 65, one out of every five falls results in a serious injury, including hip fractures and head injuries. Slips happen when there is not enough friction between your feet and the ground, while trips are the result of an obstacle on the floor blocking your foot, resulting in a loss of balance.
In a personal injury case, a slip and fall refers to a situation where a person sustains an injury on another person’s property after a fall. Slips and falls can both occur as a result of hazards and unsafe flooring, or other dangerous conditions that show a lack of property maintenance. Dangerous conditions include any risk that could not be easily anticipated and is under the responsibility of the owner, either because the owner created it, intentionally neglected it or failed to correct it.
What causes slips?
Slip-resistance is an important feature for a floor to have, because it helps prevent common and dangerous injuries from falls. There are methods for testing, including tribometers or drag-and-pull meters, which both provide a figure called the static coefficient of friction that helps show how slippery a floor is. Spills and substances on floors can cause slips by reducing the slip-resistance greatly. Some of the most common risk factors include:
- Ice on the ground
- Liquids on a polished, hard surface
- Lubricants or other slippery materials on the flooring
What causes trips?
Trips are most often caused by unexpected obstacles or objects on the floor. Single steps can easily cause trips, and that is why property owners or managers usually mark them with bright yellow tape or paint. When people walk, they swing their feet forward at different elevations, at an average height of half an inch off the ground. This low clearance means that even the smallest variation in ground level can cause someone to trip and fall, including:
- Uneven flooring
- Loose carpeting
- Cables and wires
- Lack of lighting
These unsafe conditions can cause major injuries in seniors when left unchecked.