What to Do If You Suffer a Slip and Fall Accident

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  • Author Ray Stobbart
  • Published February 26, 2019
  • Word count 766

Suffering an injury because of an accident where you have slipped on a floor surface is very common indeed. The HSE states that a third of all reported major accidents are due to slips and trips, and about 40% of those involve members of the public. Many of these accidents occur in the workplace.

Slips are caused by lack of friction between your shoe and the surface being walked on. This is frequently caused by contaminants on the floor surface, and common contaminants include snow and ice, water, oil, diesel, food waste, soap, and believe it or not, sand and gravel. The result may be that you simply come into contact with the floor surface, but you may also fall on some other hazard, and you could also get burned or injured by the contaminants which caused you to slip in the first place.

You could also be uninjured, but your clothing could be damaged by coming into contact with whatever caused you to slip, such as a petrol spill in a garage.

If you do suffer a slip, you may be able to get up on your own, or you may need someone to help you. Call for help if need be. You may just suffer some minor bruising but there is always the risk of damage to an arm or leg, your head, or spinal injuries, so if you think there is a possibility that you have suffered a more serious injury, ask someone to obtain medical help, which could be a first-aider on the site if it is a business premises or public building, or you could even need an ambulance.

You should try to record as much information about the accident as possible, including exactly where it happened and the circumstances leading up to the accident. If it is on a business premises or public building, they are legally required to have an accident book and you need to make sure that it is properly recorded in this. You may find that a business will also complete some more paperwork and you need to make certain that you agree with what is being recorded, because they will no doubt use this information in order to defend themselves at a later date because they find themselves being sued for compensation. Above all, don't sign anything, no matter what they may say or do, even if you think you agree with what is written down. A solicitor may well find that you have a right to compensation even if you think that the accident was your own fault.

If the accident takes place on a road or pavement, then you should notify the local council. The council or other local authority has a responsibility to ensure that the highways and pavements are kept in a safe manner and that any possible safety issues are sorted out promptly. You may have slipped on a road or pavement that was not properly maintained, or on contaminants such as petrol, diesel, snow, or ice for example. If a council is deemed to have been negligent in repairing a damaged surface or removing contaminants, it may well be possible to obtain compensation from it. Even if the council is not deemed to have been negligent, you may be able pursue a claim for damages against a third party responsible for contamination such as a contractor or a utility company.

Supermarkets are another place where spills and breakages frequently occur, and it may not be the fault of supermarket staff, but a customer. Nonetheless, the supermarket is responsible for cleaning up any spills promptly, and the area should be cordoned off if necessary, in order to protect other customers.

You should use your phone to photograph the area as soon as possible, and if at all practical before any spills or other contaminants have been cleaned up. You should also get the names and addresses of any witnesses to the accident as they can be called upon to give evidence in any claim for damages that you might have. Also, note any damage to your clothing or other personal possessions. For example, you may have had your phone in your pocket and that has been damaged.

Some floor surfaces are slippery on their own, and in these cases it is possible to have an anti-slip floor coating used. The floor surface can be tested using what is called a pendulum test, and if the floor surface it shown to be dangerous and a non-slip floor coating has not been applied, then again, the premises operator may be liable for damages.

4Earth Solutions is a manufacturer of a wide range of anti-slip floor coating products and can carry out a pendulum test to determine if a floor is regarded as dangerous or not.

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