It is difficult to find a walkway or a floor that tis completely level. Over time, surfaces settle unevenly as the earth beneath the structure or walkway moves and is compacted. The result is floors, sidewalks, and other surfaces that may slope upwards, slope downwards, or that may vary in height. In many cases, these features are hardly noticeable or detectable by pedestrians. In fact, it may take specialized equipment in order to detect an uneven settling of some surfaces. Given enough time, however, the settling process can result in walkways that are noticeably uneven. This can create a trip or slip hazard for individuals, and, as a result, property owners who see uneven surfaces on their property may need to take corrective action.
The Dangers of an Uneven Floor Accident
Home and business owners who plan on inviting individuals to come onto their property for one reason or another are required (under the principles of premises liability law) to take reasonable measures designed to make their homes or businesses safe for visitors. Spills can be cleaned up and snow or ice removed from walkways, but what steps must a property owner take if he or she notices uneven flooring?
One option for the property owner is to have a professional repair the uneven flooring and make it level once more. This may be necessary where the uneven flooring is the result of foundational issues with the building as a whole. For instance, if one corner of a building is settling faster than others and uneven flooring is beginning to develop, a professional who can fix the uneven floor and who can address the sinking foundation may be needed.
However, not every property owner can afford a professional to repair or shore up a building’s foundation. Another option property owners may use to address the problem is placing warning signs or other markers near the uneven floor to alert guests and visitors to the dangerous floor condition. For example, a store owner may use “caution” tape and highly-visible cones to section off an uneven walkway leading to the front door of a store. Or that same store owner may place conspicuous signs with words similar to, “Danger! Uneven Walkway!”
What a specific property owner should do in the event of an uneven floor will depend on the resources available to the property owner and the severity of the unevenness.
The Cost of Inaction in an Uneven Floor Accident
The worst thing a property owner can do when he or she notices an uneven floor is to ignore the situation and allow guests and visitors to use the walkway or floor in spite of the condition. Serious trip and fall or slip and fall injuries can occur, which can cause injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord and spinal column injuries;
- Broken bones (broken pelvic bones are especially common in fall accidents and can cause serious mobility limitations for young and old victims alike);
- Bruising and internal trauma.
Property owners who choose to ignore uneven flooring may find themselves having to pay an injury victim’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses and losses. If the victim is permanently disabled or impaired as a result of the uneven floor accident, these costs can far exceed what it would have cost to fix the uneven floor in the first place.
Nor can property owners fail to inspect their properties regularly and look for conditions such as uneven floors. A property owner will not escape legal liability for an injury resulting from an uneven floor if such a condition was present on the owner’s property and would have been readily apparent to anyone conducting a routine inspection.
What if I Am Injured in an Uneven Floor Accident?
If you or a loved one find yourselves injured because of an uneven floor, it is crucial that you attempt to take photographs as soon as possible to preserve evidence of the uneven floor. It is not uncommon for some unscrupulous property owners to attempt to fix an uneven floor after an accident has occurred and attempt to claim no dangerous condition ever existed. By photographing the floor at or near the time of the accident, you will have important evidence available to counter any lies or deceitful tactics the property owner may choose to use.
Stern Law, PLLC, your uneven floor slip and fall accident attorney, is able to use these photographs as well as other evidence and witnesses to build a case of negligence against the property owner. While few injury victims relish the legal recovery process, it is necessary to ensure negligent or callous property owners are made to account for the consequences of their decisions. If you or a loved one tripped or slipped on an uneven floor and injured yourself, call (844) 808-7529 right away and discuss your case with us.