Trip, slip, and fall accidents account for a significant number of the accidental injuries and emergency room visits that occur every year throughout Canada. These injuries can be serious and result in hospitalization and missed time from work. They can occur during any type of activity, from home chores to vacations, from shopping trips to recreational activities. Many Canadians may associate slip and fall accidents with the winter season – specifically slips that occur on icy sidewalks or snow-packed streets, but the summer season poses its own risk and many trip, slip, and fall accidents occur during the warmer months. Many people may blame their own clumsiness or carelessness after a fall, however, some falls may be the result of someone else’s negligence. In this blog, we will examine some of the common causes of slips, trips, and falls that occur during the summer season, discuss the injuries that can result from these accidents, and explain what it means when slips, trips, and falls are the result of negligence of a property owner and/or occupier.
Defining Trip, Slip, and Fall
A slip occurs when there is a lack of friction or traction between the surface someone is walking on and their feet or footwear. A trip and/or stumble occurs when a person’s foot or leg gets caught on or strikes an object in their path and their balance is altered. A fall occurs when a person is walking from a higher level of elevation to a lower one, like going down the stairs. Falls can occur on the same level or from a height, as is the case when someone falls from a ladder. Most falls occur on the same level. Slipping, tripping, and stumbling can also result in a fall.
The Dangers of the Summer Season
For many Canadians, summer is a season of outside fun, vacations, home improvement projects, and yard work. This season, though, still poses risks for injuries that occur as the result of a slip, trip, or fall. It can happen during the most routine activities, at times when our guards are down, and we’re focused on the task at hand or the enjoyment of the moment. It can also happen anywhere, in common places we may visit every single week:
- Public pools
- Theme parks
- Fairs and festivals
- Hospitals or medical facilities
- Recreation centres
- Grocery stores
- Shopping malls and retail stores
- Parking lots and garages
- Office buildings
- Construction sites
- Restaurants and bars
- Coffee shops
Common summertime falls can be the result of a variety of factors. Slip and fall accidents may occur due to:
- Greasy, oily, or otherwise slick surfaces
- Surfaces with standing water
- Loose, slippery, or unanchored mats, carpets, or rugs
- Walking surfaces or flooring that do not provide the same degree of traction in all areas
Similarly, trip and fall accidents may occur as the result of:
- Poorly lit stairways or walkways
- Stairways or balconies that are missing handrails
- Debris or clutter in the walkway
- Exposed cords that trail over a walkway or store aisle
- Objects that protrude into or block a pathway
- Changes in the levels and slopes of walkways and paths
- Wrinkled or uneven carpets and rugs
- Blocked views that prevent a person from seeing their path
- Opened drawers or cabinets that obstruct a path
These potential hazards exist year-round and can result in a fall that causes serious bodily harm. It is important to be aware and stay vigilant of these potential hazards so you can avoid accidents. During the summer months, though, you should pay especially close attention to these potential sources of trip, slip, and fall accidents:
Pools, waterparks, theme parks, fairs, and festivals are the sites of many summertime slip, trip, or fall accidents. When standing water pools on pathways or insufficient traction creates slippery surfaces, people of all ages may experience a catastrophic fall that could be caused by the negligence of the party that owns and/or operates the property. These locations can be even more dangerous due to crowds and narrow walkways and paths. Waterparks, theme parks, public festivals and fairs, and public pools should have signs posted warning guests about any areas that may be slippery. These signs should be visible to guests and should clearly indicate areas that may pose a potential slip, trip, or fall risk or otherwise dangerous condition.
During the summer months, many of us spend considerable time outdoors. This means we’re more likely to experience a trip and fall on surfaces that are uneven. Cracked sidewalks, holes in walkways, and pathways with changes in levels or slopes pose a particularly dangerous risk. Walkways or paths in need of repair after the harsh winter months can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting walker.
The warm summer months also create an environment ripe for the growth of moss, molds, and algae. These can grow on walkways or paths and, especially when wet or damp, be incredibly dangerous to walk on. They create a slippery surface and can be hard to see.
Summer is the season for family cookouts and gatherings both indoors and outdoors. When kitchen spills like oil, water, or grease happen while preparing food, the floor can become incredibly slippery. When that is paired with wet or bare feet, slips are a common occurrence and can lead to serious injuries. Similarly, after someone has cleaned up a kitchen spill, the floor may remain wet and slippery for some time and still represent a potential hazard to people.
Kinds of Injuries Experienced in a Slip and Fall Accident
Slips, trips, and falls can result in serious bodily harm. Slips often result in a person falling backwards, while trips and falls often result in a person falling forward. Either way, injuries can be painful and, in many cases, life-altering. The degree of severity of an injury that results from a slip, trip, or fall depends on the circumstances specific to the event including factors like: how hard the surface was, how far they fell, and if the initial fall resulted in additional falls (as is the case with falling down the steps), and what the health of the person was. Seniors can often suffer more serious injuries after a fall due to their overall health and reaction time. After slipping, tripping, and falling here are some of the common injuries that may occur:
- Fractured tailbone
- Fractures of the hand or wrist
- Sprained hands or wrists
- Fractured kneecap
- Sprained feet or ankles
- Fractured hip
- Fractures of the tibia, fibula, or femur
- Fractures of the foot or ankle
- Sprained shoulders or elbows
- Fractures of the shoulder or arm
- Head trauma or skull fracture
- Brain injuries
- Facial injuries
Fractures can be painful and lead to lasting issues for people of all ages. Seniors, however, are especially vulnerable. For them, bone fractures, specifically hip fractures, can be very difficult to recover from and can continue to affect their health for the rest of their lives.
Tips for Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls
Taking action to reduce the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls at your home and office and being aware of potential hazards while you’re out can help you to avoid trip, slip, and fall related injuries. Good housekeeping practices are the best way to prevent slips, trips, and falls. Always be sure to:
- Clean up all leaks and spills immediately
- Keep walkways clear of debris, obstacles, and clutter
- Ensure all rugs, carpets, and mats are secure
- Make sure all stairways and walkways are well-lit
- Fix cracks, holes, or unevenness in your walkways
- Pay close attention to slippery walking surfaces and, if possible, utilize materials to recoat or recover areas that remain slippery
In addition to these proactive measures, you can take these additional precautions to avoid accidents, especially while you’re out:
- Always wear appropriate footwear that provide sufficient traction and grip
- Be aware of and pay attention to where you are walking
- Walk at a safe pace
- Always use handrails on stairways
- Avoid walkways that have clutter, loose wires, or obstructions
- Turn on lights in rooms and walkways before entering them
- Be aware of the conditions of the walking surface
- If walking outside at night, consider carrying a flashlight
When a Slip, Trip, or Fall Accident Is the Result of Negligence
While falls are sometimes the result of clumsiness or carelessness, many trip, slip, and fall accidents are the direct result of a property owner or occupier’s negligence. Property owners and occupiers have a responsibility to ensure visitors are safe by ensuring that their properties are free of potential hazards. Spills, and leaks should be addressed promptly and sufficiently. They should provide adequate warning signage when it is impossible to eliminate the potential hazard(s). If they fail to maintain a safe environment, and you are injured as a result, you may have a claim against them for negligence and may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries and losses.
In these negligence cases, a plaintiff or injured party must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent and that their negligence was the cause of the injuries and damages. British Columbia has laws to help protect citizens from negligent property owners. In British Columbia, the Occupiers Liability Act describes and details the legal duties and responsibilities of property owners and occupiers. These protections establish and define the duty of care owed to all people who are allowed to enter a property and help to clearly differentiate between accidents and acts of negligence.
Have You or a Loved One Been Injured as a Result of a Property Owner’s Negligence?
Klein Lawyers has an outstanding track record of handling trip, slip, and fall cases. We understand how to identify and investigate trip, slip and fall incidents and determine whether or not there was negligence on behalf of the property owner and/or occupier. We have the resources, knowledge, and experience British Columbians need to get the justice and compensation they deserve.
We will start by conducting an in-depth investigation of the evidence in your case. We will take the time to really listen to your story, obtain any registry searches, incident reports, medical records, and witness statements and thoroughly evaluate your potential claim. During the case, we will retain key experts to establish the critical details of the injury that occurred. We strive to make this process as easy for you as possible. You will focus on your life while we focus on your case.
We keep you informed throughout the entire case so you never feel like you are in the dark. We want you to understand the process and feel comfortable asking any questions along the way. Too often, we hear concerns expressed from potential clients about what the process will be like, what they will need to do, and how often they will hear from their lawyer. We will make it clear right from the start so that you know what to expect, and we will stay true to our commitment to you. Communication and transparency are important to our team, and you will recognize that as our client.
Klein Lawyers Can Help
Klein Lawyers has over 20 years of success and experience in the legal field. During that time, we have worked hard to earn the trust and respect of British Columbians who need legal representation. Working with an experienced lawyer is critical, and our team understands the trust clients place in us when we are representing them. We value that trust and feel honoured that so many clients choose our law firm to fight for them. We are passionate about obtaining the best possible outcome for our clients.
Contact Us Today
Contact the Klein Lawyers team today at (604) 874-7171 for a free consultation with a Vancouver trip and fall lawyer. We serve clients injured in British Columbia and Class Action and Mass Tort clients throughout Canada. There is no obligation, and your consultation is completely confidential. We are here to help victims of a property owner and/or occupier’s negligence receive the justice they deserve.