A slip and fall is not always caused by a spilled drink
If you ask someone what causes a slip and fall accident, the most common response will probably be a spill of some sort. Even though that is not a wrong answer, there are many times that a person may fall down a flight of stairs, a few steps or a ramp – with no liquid in sight. In many cases a person may try to get up as best they can and walk away (even though they may have been injured). It may be due to embarrassment if others were watching because the person who fell assumes it was caused by their own carelessness.
There are many times this could be true, but then there are some cases when the cause of the fall is much more subtle than someone who spilled a soda at the top of the stairs.
Staircases and ramps need to follow safety standards
Walking surfaces like staircases, ramps, steps and doorways all have codes and safety standards that they must abide by. In many cases a building may not follow these codes and go for decades with a defective stairway or ramp that is undetected or not brought to anyone’s attention. This could be laziness on the part of the company that owns the property or work done by an unlicensed contractor who did not follow safety standards. It could also be something the property owners are aware of, but don’t find it cost effective to make the required changes and are hoping it just goes unnoticed and hopefully anyone who trips might just assume it was their own fault.
Codes and Standards
Various local, state and federal governments require ramps and stairs to meet certain requirements in order to be deemed safe. This is taken very seriously by the International Code Council (ICC), Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Society of Testing Material (ASTM), just to name a few.
What if it’s an old building?
Building codes are typically “grandfathered” in. What this means is a building has to meet the code requirements that were in place when it was originally built. Something a lot of people are not aware of is that a change in the use of a building or renovation will trigger code compliance and the property owners will be responsible for making sure the building is up to code.
Ramps have requirements and safety standards that need to be met as well.
Even though it may not seem like a slipping or falling hazard for someone walking, a ramp that does not meet safety requirements can be incredibly dangerous for a disabled person. The Americans with Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADA/AG) require safety standards that need to be met with the slope of the ramp, accessibility, handrails and their ability to be grasped, handrail clearance and ramp friction.
When seeking legal representation for a slip and fall, you need to hire a law firm that understands and is willing to do the amount of research that is needed for a successful outcome to your case.
The Fort Lauderdale slip, trip & fall attorneys at MADALON LAW have an impressive success rate with these cases and also offer a free consultation. Contact our firm today so you can tell us what happened and we can let you know your options.