Slip and Fall Accidents

Same-surface slip and fall accidents can be classified into four categories:
 
1. Trip-and-fall accidents, in which pedestrians encounter a foreign object in their walking path; 

2. Stump-and-fall accidents, in which a moving foot encounters an impediment in the walking surface, whether it is a tacky point on the surface or a defect that impedes the foot; 

3. Step-and-fall accidents, in which the foot finds an unexpected failure or hole in the walking surface; and 

4. Slip-and-fall accidents, in which the interface of the shoe and the floor fails to support the walker's center of gravity over the base area.

Legal Expectations with Slip and Fall Accidents:

When walking in a public place, we have the right to be advised of any hazards we are likely to encounter. If we choose to proceed with full knowledge of a hazard, we assume at least some risk. If the hazard has been knowingly or carelessly disguised, an accident can be expected. 
A man visiting a public park broke his leg in a fall as he tried to descend three wooden steps to a lower level. His foot had slipped on a defect in the leading edge of a step. The public parks department investigated the accident and painted the steps with a bright orange paint to call attention to the stairs. unfortunately, the paint covered the defect in the step, and, two weeks later, a woman broke her hip when her foot got caught in the same defect.

Lighting can disguise a defect or hazardous condition. A change in the normal walking environment must be visible to the pedestrian and stand out from background stimuli. glare and too much or too little contrast in the walking environment can reduce the efficiency of the eye. The walking surface should be evenly illuminated and should have a brightness level of at least 20 foot candles - a basic quantitative unit of light measurement. And the contrast (ratio of dark to light) should be no less than 3-1 and no more than 20-1. The measurement of luminosity and contrast requires a simple photographic light meter calibrated to read in foot candles.

Photographs of the accident scene can help the investigator evaluate the effect of light on the mishap. It is important to photograph the site properly, making sure the photographs represent the accident point from the eight compass positions. These photographs often provide unexpected insights. The camera should be held level and pointed straight ahead, instead of at the floor.An example of the usefulness of photographs can be shown in the case of a woman who fell while walking through a bank. An examination of the photographs showed what had been missed during previous inspections of the scene: a dip in the floor, where a wall had been removed, which could not be seen from the area of traffic flow used by the victim.

Mark C. Blane is a San Diego Slip and Fall Attorney, and the managing lawyer of the Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, a San Diego, California Premise Liability Law Firm devoted to representing families of injured persons of automobile accidents. If you or someone you love, has been injured or killed in San Diego County, or Southern California, due to the negligence of another, please order your FREE copy of Mr. Blane's book, The 10 Secrets You Need To Know About Your Injury Case, BEFORE You Call A Lawyer. It is full of helpful information, insights, and secrets that will help you protect your legal rights.  It normally sells for $16.95; however, it is free to all California residents, or those injured in a California accident.