Biggest Slip and Fall Stories in the News

Slip and fall lawsuits are unfortunately all too common throughout the United States. While some are scams, many of them are very real as slip and falls are the number one cause of accidental injury, resulting in 20.8 percent of all emergency room visits. We are looking at several top slip and fall lawsuits making headlines that have been ongoing for years and are still waiting on judgments. Which way do you think they’ll go? Could they have been prevented with different slip and fall precautionary measures put in place?

Case 1: Woman Suing McDonald’s Over Slip and Fall

A woman claims she was injured after she allegedly slipped and fell on wet floors at a McDonald’s in O’Fallon, Illinois. She filed a complaint on May 13, alleging negligence. In the suit, it states that she was a guest at the McDonald’s on April 7 when she was allegedly injured due to a dangerous condition that had been left to exist. She claims she slipped and fell on wet floors, causing her to suffer severe and permanent injuries.

The plaintiff alleges the defendants failed to provide adequate warnings of the condition, failed to provide adequate and safe egress for guests on the property to maneuver and move about, and negligently permitted the presence of a condition causing unreasonable risk of harm. The plaintiff is seeking relief of more than $50,000.

Our Restaurant Slip and Fall Prevention Tips: Nearly all restaurants have floor safety procedures in place, but whether they’re followed appropriately is another thing. Restaurants are commonly top offenders for slip and fall accidents so having your staff knowledgeable on the importance of these safety measures and trained on implementing them is important. Other best practices for preventing slip and fall accidents in restaurants include:

  • Slip-Resistant Flooring: With the floors of restaurants are constantly being hit with beverages, grease, or spilled food, the texture of your floors is very important. Having flooring that is slip-resistant will help with the daily hustle, including patrons and employees moving about.
  • Slip Resistant Flooring

  • Anti-Slip Film: Having an anti-slip film that is mop-friendly like our Safety Track 3500 Resilient Medium Grade anti-slip film is also helpful to have around beverage areas, sinks and in bathrooms to further help in preventing slip and fall accidents.
  • Use mats and rugs, but with caution: Mats and rugs are great to offer prevention, but if not properly maintained, they can actually be the cause of these accidents. Replace old and frayed rugs immediately, make sure they are not curling at the corners, and use a mat that either has a high-traction backing or put an anti-slip tape underneath it to prevent movement, such as those certified by the NFSI.

Case 2: Slip and Fall Case Against Target Seeking $1.2 million Remanded Back to State Court

On May 20, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania determined Target took too long to remove the plaintiff’s slip-and-fall case to a federal court and granted her motion to remand it back to state court. The plaintiff sued Target in a Philadelphia County Court back in November 2018, saying she suffered injuries after she fell in a Target in 2017. She asked for more than $50,000, plus legal costs and delay damages. Target was served Dec. 24, 2018, and had until March 12 to respond. The plaintiff then followed up with a Case Management Conference memorandum that consisted of a demand for $1.2 million on March 4. On March 12, Target removed the case to federal court but filed the notice of removal after the allotted 30 days, causing the court to grant the plaintiff’s motion.

The plaintiff said she slipped on what she described as a “liquid” substance on the floor of a Target store and “suffered a cosmetic disfigurement and she may continue to suffer (the) same for an indefinite time in the future,” according to the ruling.

Our Retail Slip and Fall Prevention Tips: In retail stores, especially large ones like Target, it can be challenging to keep track of every nook and crannies in the store to make sure spills are promptly cleaned. It is important to make sure employees are doing rounds and alerting appropriate team members if liquids are spilled, so they can have signage put up immediately and take care of the potential hazard. Beyond that, additional products and practices that can help in preventing slip and fall accidents in retail include:

  • Keep your space clean. Cluttered floors, clothes off hangers, or boxes of unpacked merchandise on the floor are top offenders of trip and fall accidents in retail. Make sure employees keep areas tidy and at the end of their shift, organize the spaces for which they are responsible.
  • Watch Your Step

  • Proper products matter. Having the right products easily accessible plays a crucial role in preventing slip and fall accidents in retail stores. Providing wet floor signs, clean up supplies like paper towels and mops in a convenient location that all employees are aware of is important. Also, consider using a slip-resistant floor cleaner to further prevent any accidents from occurring.
  • If you have an uneven floor that changes in height, it is a good idea to use either a caution sign, caution tape or have railings in place. Always make sure to use a non-slip film in these areas because it is commonplace for a fall.

Case 3: Vacationer Alleges Slip and Fall on Carnival Cruise Ship

A vacationer alleges that he was injured aboard a Carnival cruise ship is suing the well-known cruise ship company. The plaintiff filed a complaint April 26 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Carnival Corporation, alleging negligence. The plaintiff alleges on Feb. 26, 2018, he was caused to slip and fall shortly after boarding the Carnival Inspiration. The fall occurred, the suit says, when Barrios went to the wrong muster station, causing the Carnival employee to lead the plaintiff to the correct one.

The plaintiff further alleges he was holding the arm of his travel companion who was being pulled by the Carnival employee and the plaintiff fell on the stairs, resulting in injuries to his spine and causing him to lose enjoyment of life. Carnival filed an answer to the plaintiff’s allegations of negligence, arguing that Barrios’ action was precluded in the plaintiff’s ticket. The defendant also alleged that they were not responsible for the plaintiff’s injury.

The court has agreed with the plaintiff and decided to strike affirmative defenses two and seven, as stated by Carnival. The court believes the defendant’s second defense impermissibly seeks to preclude the plaintiff’s ability to bring forth a negligence claim, which the defendant is not allowed to do. The seventh defense seeks to shift the blame for the incident to a third party, which is not permitted under general maritime law. The plaintiff asked that the defendant’s second and seventh defenses be struck.
U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno heard the case.

Our Cruise Ship Slip and Fall Prevention Tips: Unfortunately, wet surfaces make up 55% of all slip, trips, and falls in the hospitality industry and when on a cruise ship, it’s going to be wet sometime, somewhere during your stay onboard. That is one reason why cruise ships have to take extra precautionary measures to keep both employees and patrons safe. We have compiled a list of the top areas slip and fall accidents commonly occur on the cruise ship and what can be done to prevent them and protect those aboard.

  • Heavy-duty grit tapes need to be used. Grit tapes can withstand the elements the ocean brings aboard and should be used throughout the ship deck, on ramps, within dining quarters, bathrooms, and stair treads.
  • Wear proper footwear. Employees should all be required to wear slip-resistant shoes, and guests should be strongly encouraged to do the same. Having that extra traction can make a big difference if you hit a wet spot while walking.
  • Make sure you have adequate lighting. Dimly lit spaces are just waiting for accidents. With many of the ship-goers unfamiliar with the boat, it is especially important for cruise ships to have adequate lighting, especially in hallways, ramps, and in stairwells.

As a business owner, it is essential to take precautionary measures and train your staff to know the right steps to take if a person on your property says they had a slip and fall accident. With more than 8.7 million people injured from a slip, trip and fall incidents every year in the United States, the threat is a very real one that could occur in your building, especially if you don’t take proper measures to prevent them. Contact our team at Jessup to discuss how we can help you assess your building and help you with slip and fall prevention.

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