The one thing worse than slipping and falling is being sued for millions of dollars because someone else slipped. If you are a property owner, this is a genuine concern. Slips are especially a worry for anyone who owns or maintains commercial flooring. Each year countless numbers of people suffer injuries, and billions of dollars in legal damages get awarded over slip-and-fall lawsuits.
Although the majority of these cases are legitimate, many of them are not. All that is needed is the pretext for a claim for a suit to be initiated against a landlord. The number one thing the courts will consider is the condition of your flooring. That is why it is in the property owner’s best interest to always have it on record that their floors have been recently safety rated.
What is required goes beyond the proactive responsiveness of your local supermarket manager when he or she announces, “cleanup in aisle 12.” Spills are incidents you know to address immediately. What is more insidious is the floor tile that is slippery even when dry. Usually, the footwear of the victim has a lot to do with it, but people have a right to wear safe shoes on an unsafe floor. None the less, if they slip and fall they will have grounds to sue you for their injuries.
The science of slip testing is the best defense shield against legal action. There is an entire area of knowledge dedicated to measuring friction. It is known as tribology. It originates from the Greek word “tribos” which means to rub. Tribology is the field of science and engineering which studies the way surfaces interact with each other. That expensive accident which is waiting to happen begins at the microscopic level, just as the shoe’s sole meets the floor.
What matters is two things. The first concern is that the flooring in question has an ample safety rating when dry to ensure against preventable slips. Next, you should have a tribological record of the floor’s safety. There are devices called tribometers which can record a floors safety rating and produce a record of those measurements. That is the sort of documentation that can go a long way toward disproving a fraudulent claim.
There are tribometer suppliers available on the internet, or you can hire a professional slip-testing company to do it for you. Many of these companies will return on a schedule to update your records. A current slip-test result is more impactful in court than a dated result would be. Judging by the enormity of some of the awards paid to plaintiffs in these slip-and-fall cases, it is well worth it to have this testing done.
Whether it is a fraudster or an actual fall victim, the property owner is liable. Thus, you owe it to yourself to ensure that your floors are as safe as possible for all who enter your premises and walk upon them. If not, you could be the one taking the fall.