Slip and Fall Accidents Are Leading Cause of Disputes in Real Estate Sector

A new report published by the Institute of Real Estate Management sheds new light on an old problem. According to 57% of real estate professionals, slip and fall accidents represent the single most costly type of business dispute encountered in 2008 (i). Moreover, 63% percent say issues raised by slip and fall accidents are among the top 3 issues management faces on a continual basis.

When it comes to property management, few challenges are more common or costly than slip and fall accidents. In fact, more than 8 million Americans were sent to hospitals for injuries sustained during a slip and fall, according to the All Injury Program (ii). A collaboration of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Consumer Product Safety Commission, the All Injury Program is one of the nation’s leading agencies for measuring the frequency, cost burden, and prevention of specific types of accidents.

Top 5 Liability Claims, by Type

By the numbers, property owners and other individuals holding real property ownership are at high risk for financial loss in the wake of a slip and fall accident. It’s important to note that these individuals can be the owners of both public and private properties, though the degree to which the owner is liable may vary according to the property type and visitor designation.

For example, property owners owe little responsibility to those who enter their private property illegally (trespassers), however owners of public property in which visitors are either explicitly or implicitly invited to conduct business (invitees) owe strict duties that, if neglected, might trigger a liability claim.

According to numbers gathered by the All Injury Program, the top 5 liability claims for real property owners in 2008 were:

  • Slip and Fall (on same level): 53%
  • Unclassified Damage: 9%
  • Struck by an object: 7%
  • Fall from…: 7%
  • Leaking/ Seeping: 4%

Preventing Slips and Falls

To assist property owners in avoiding inordinate accident-related payouts, the All Injury Program has issued the following tips for preventing slip and fall accidents. The following tips are valuable for all owners of property to consider, particularly those who own or manage public buildings that are heavily trafficked on a daily basis.

According to the All Injury Program, the leading causes of slip and fall accidents are “well understood” and include:

  • Inadequate slip resistance on the floor/ walking surface
  • Lackluster maintenance protocols that leave floors soiled or unkept
  • Poor conditions on walking surface
  • Low light/ poor visibility
  • Inadequate safety rails (poor condition, disrepair, or non-existent)
  • Poor design of stairwells, including steps, stairways, and/or landings
  • Improper walkway transitions (i.e. ledges, lips, and other tripping hazards)
  • Distractions, such as displays or advertisements

For more information, visit the Eagle Mat Blog’s accident prevention article and resource section.

Introducing National Safety Consultation for Real Estate Professionals

For more than 3 decades, Eagle Mat and Floor Products has been a leading provider of commercial matting and other facility safety products in the Washington DC Metro Area. We specialize in helping property owners, management teams, and commercial facilities prevent slip and fall accidents with industry-leading products and unparalleled client services.

For more information, please visit our Services Page or call client services directly at 1-877-333-1018.

Sources:

(i) “New Techniques to Control Slips and Falls.” National Floor Safety Institute. Accessed 23 August 2013.

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