Many of us will hit the road this summer for family vacation fun, visiting area hotels and restaurants along the way. Unfortunately, these destinations are ripe for slip and fall accidents. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 25,000 people a day are victims of slip and fall accidents, accounting for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits. Slip and falls are the number one cause of accidents in restaurants with over one million guests injured annually as a result of restaurant slips and falls. Statistics show that most restaurant slip and falls are directly related to wet or unsafe flooring, inappropriate footwear, and inadequate hazard identification.
Slips and falls are especially a concern in the hospitality industry, accounting for 40 to 50 percent of the costs for guest accidents at hotels. According to a Travelers Insurance study, 92 percent of slip, trip and falls occurring in hotels happen in floors/walkways with hard surfaces or carpeting, stairs, parking lots, bathtubs/showers, and around swimming pools. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year. And when you’re visiting restaurants or hotels, you should know that the owners have a duty to keep you safe from known hazards.
Premises Liability is the liability of a landowner for certain injuries suffered by persons who are present on the premises. Premises Liability cases are often referred to as “slip and fall” cases, and landowners are responsible for managing safe conditions on the property they own.
The liability of owners and occupiers of property will vary depending on the legal rules and principles in place in the state where the slip and fall injury occurred. There are two different types of legal status for invited visitors or guests on another’s property: the invitee and licensee. An invitee is someone who is invited onto the property of another to transact business, such as a hotel guest or patron at a restaurant. This invitation ordinarily implies that the owner has taken the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of its customers. A licensee enters property solely for his or her own purpose and is present at the consent of the owner, such as a social guest visiting their friend’s pool.
Although property owners have a responsibility to prevent slips and falls on their property, you should also take care to protect yourself. Some ways you can minimize your risk of slipping and falling include:
- Use handrails, especially on staircases, when they are available.
- Walk, never run, across wet surfaces, especially around pools, and wear the right kind of shoes that won’t be slippery or cause you to trip over uneven surfaces.
- Only walk in well-lit areas. If a light is not available, use your cell phone screen, or built-in flashlight, to illuminate the path ahead so you can see any hazards in your way.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, contact a knowledgeable Colorado personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case and help get you the recovery you deserve.