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Are slip-resistant floors on the horizon?

Slip and falls are one of the leading causing of accidental deaths injuries in North America.  A new treatment process for floors may help make walkways less slippery, thereby reducing the risk of suffering a slip and fall accident.

Touted as "slip-resistant flooring," the treatment process creates an invisible tread on the floor that makes it easier for those walking to keep their footing. During scientific tests, the coating increased the slip resistance of the flooring by 400%. This new coating is starting to make its way into Florida establishments.

While this solution for slippery floors may help reduce the risks of accidents falls, that does not mean it is likely to entirely prevent slip and fall accidents from occurring altogether. If you do suffer an injury after slipping on a slick surface, determining whether the property owner was negligent is the key to receiving compensation.

Was the accident the result of negligence?

In Florida, there is a two-pronged test that must be met to determine whether a slip-and-fall accident was the result of negligence:

  • The property owner must have known, or the condition existed for a long enough time that he or she should have known about the slippery conditions; and
  • The property owner should have taken the necessary steps to remedy the condition

Knowledge of the slippery floor can be actual knowledge of the slippery floor, or it could refer to the constructive knowledge of the condition. Constructive knowledge is more circumstantial and may apply to situations that are either foreseeable or situations that have been dangerous for an extended period of time.

It can sometimes be established by the condition of the substance causing the fall.  Are the edges dry or discolored?  Are there any footprints or evidence of slipping in the substance?  Any tracks through it?  If it is a solid rather than a liquid (like a grape or banana), is the item deformed, dried, or is there some other observation you can make that could potentially assist in establishing that the condition existed for a sufficient period of time that the owner is charged with knowledge of the condition.

Anything that helps make our floors safer is a welcome development. That said, it is important to be cautious when walking on slippery floors. Until we have truly slip-resistant flooring, it is important that everyone understands the proper steps to take after suffering a slip-and-fall accident.

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