Slip & Fall

A "slip and fall" or "trip and fall" is the generic term for an injury which occurs when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else's property. It includes falls as a result of water, ice or snow, as well as abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or hard to see hole in the ground. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimates that in 2004, more than 8 million people were injured in falls. Fall related injuries are of large concern, mostly to older individuals. If you are on someone else's property and injure yourself as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, the landowner or business proprietor may be liable for your injuries.

Slip and Fall Statistics:

· The #2 leading cause of injuries throughout the United States. (Auto accidents are #1)
· The #2 cause for Workers Compensation and Liability claims. (40% of all claims paid out)
· The #1 cause of accidents in homes, hotels, restaurants, and public buildings. (70% occur on flat and level surfaces)

There are four major causes for slip and fall accidents:

· Lack of slip resistance on walking surfaces
· Poor walking surface conditions
· Poor visibility
· Lack or poor condition of handrails and guardrails

Slip and fall, in United States tort law, is a claim or case based on a person slipping (or tripping) and falling. It is a tort, and based on a claim that the property owner was negligent in allowing some dangerous condition to exist that caused the slip or trip. Because of a general perception that slip and falls are at least partly the fault of the person injured, slip and fall injuries are usually worth less than injuries from other types of torts. This is a difficult area of the law for the layman to understand and for the attorney to explain liability rationale to her client.

Because of the seriousness of the “slip and fall” problem a great many researchers have focused on devising tools to analyze this event. Concentrating only on slips, there is general agreement that they may be abated by controlling the friction coefficients of floors. Slippery surfaces, improper footwear, inadequate hazard identification, inattentiveness, construction deficiencies, and physiology are among the many underlying reasons for slip and fall. To initiate the investigation, analysis of the premises is a cost-effective first step. Measurements of critical dimensions, frictional aspects of the stairs or floors and lighting levels, yield factual information that acts as a basis for accepting or denying a claim. Three major ingredients of the slip and fall accident investigation revolve around the friction between the floor and the shoe, physical configuration of the accident scene, and/or lighting of the scene.

It is generally considered in the industry that a walkway surface with a coefficient of friction higher than 0.5 is non-hazardous. Federal regulations from the Americans with Disabilities Act recommend a coefficient of friction of 0.6 or higher. The coefficient of friction is a measure of the slipperiness of a surface, the lower the coefficient, the more slippery the surface. The coefficient of friction is the ratio of the weight of an object to the frictional force required to just move the object. Human locomotion involves acceleration during start-up, slowdown, steady movement, and maneuvers. These accelerations are associated with tangential forces transferred from a walker's footwear to the walking surface. To accomplish desired ambulation the tangential forces must be resisted by ground reaction forces. On uncontaminated dry floors, ground reaction forces are developed through friction.

If a claim of a slippery surface arises, determination of the coefficient of friction or slip resistance through testing may help in the evaluation of the claim. For slip and fall investigations, the incident walking surface slip resistance can be measured using a tribometer/slipmeter. Slip resistance is related but is not the same as coefficient of static or dynamic friction.  Slip resistance is typically referenced in the cases of slip and fall accidents because it includes surfaces contaminated with liquids such as water/lubricant etc.  The American Society of Testing and Material (ASTM) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) refer to a slip resistance measure defined as “…the relative force that resists the tendency of the shoe or foot to slide along the walkway surface”. ASTM has created the F1679 standard specifically for the English XL Variable Incidence Tribometer (VIT).  It is one of only two standards approved in the United States for measuring under wet surface conditions. 

The English XL VIT is the most widely accepted slipmeter of choice among US insurance companies, and it is widely accepted in the courts. It is a portable "slip tester", designed to test the “slip index" on various walking surfaces, level or incline (even steps), under dry and wet (or otherwise contaminated) conditions by mimicking certain pedestrian bio-mechanical parameters. It can measure the slipperiness of any walking surface and is recognized by ASTM/ANSI F1679, ANSI A1264.2, and other specialized test standards for its use by ASTM, NFPA and ANSI committees as well as OSHA and ADA compliance. The English XL VIT is designed primarily for valid measurement on wet surfaces, incorporating dynamics that mimic certain parameters of a pedestrian's gait. It is the only tribometer equipped with a stair fixture that enables the metering of traction on step nosings parallel to the direction of pedestrian travel. It is considered by many to be the most precise tribometer in the market currently for wet surface slip resistance measurements. 

Global Technology Experts (GTE) has extensively used the English XL to expose slippery floors and to give their clients their due compensation.

NEWS & EVENTS

GTE to participate at the Atlanta Claims Association Convention April 17-19, 2013. Please stop by our booth and speak with us.
George Kremer will be attending the Southern Loss Association held at Ravina Club on September 13, 2012.
Dr. Ash Thakker attended the Southern Loss Association held at Ravina Club on March 8, 2012. Wind damage to structures was the topic of discussion.
TESTIMONIALS
"...The case settled late last week... I wish to sincerely thank you and your staff for an excellent job. You were true professionals and I appreciated working with you. Thank you."
    -David A. Dorey
"...I want to thank you for your assistance as an expert and particularly your development of a theory of liability as to how the incident occurred. I would be glad to recommend your services to others who have a need for your expertise..."
    -Jack Herskowitz
"...Thank you very much for your consulting work on our case. Your initial report was very helpful in determining the technical cause of this incident..."
    -Robert E. Pinker