Growing Problem with Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents

by admin on November 24, 2009

in Maintenance, Management, Operations

With the aging of our population we are seeing more and more instances of “trip and falls” within our communities. Some of these incidents are just plain accidents and some are a result of a “dangerous condition” within the community. In many cases, the owner of the property (common property = association) will be liable for the accident and any injuries.

There are many areas in associations that contain a potential for hazards and the resultant injuries. There are many areas within a community’s common elements that should be investigated, identified and regularly policed for potential hazards. Here are some suggestions for your association to look for: Holes in the ground from pipe blow outs and unfinished repairs; loose valve covers; broken grates; loose or broken street gutters; raised sidewalks, tree roots, potholes in roads; slippery and broken steps. Also keep in mind, any loose items in hallways, stairwells and storage areas, torn or upturned carpet, any slippery surfaces, especially in hallways, pool areas and clubhouses, loose railings, poor lighting, improperly graded surfaces. We are sure there are more than what we mentioned here.

If the association created any of the above conditions or knew about them and did not do anything to correct them, they would be considered negligent and eventually liable. If the association did not create any of these conditions but there was sufficient time for them to discover the hazard and to correct it, but did not do so, the association would probably be liable as well.

Another area that can cause liability would be if an association or their contractor did not pull a permit and build or repair something not according to applicable codes. Any code violations that were ignored and resulted in an injury would cause the association to be liable as well.

Most of this is common sense and being observant of ever changing conditions within a community. It really is an area of your operations that gets ignored and should be of a concern to all employees, Board members, contractors and residents. Try to educate your community to help identify potential hazards and then have an action plan to have these removed/repaired immediately. In this manner, you will help to minimize the risks to your community, its residents and guests.

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