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Many slip and falls caused by poor surface resistance

CNA Financial Corporation has released a study on slip and fall accidents that may make business owners in California and across the nation think twice about the safety of their floors. Researchers studied the records of all the slip and fall liability claims that were filed against the company between January 2010 and December 2016, coming to several expected and unexpected conclusions.

About 50 percent of surveyed sites had flooring with poor slip resistance. The American National Standards Institute has set a minimum for what are called dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) levels; these floors failed to reach this important minimum. The businesses that had the most claims filed against them were in the retail trade and real estate fields.

Forty percent of the accidents took place on working and walking surfaces, especially entry flooring, while 27 percent occurred on sidewalks just outside the entrances. Thirty-three percent happened in parking lots, and less than 1 percent inside office buildings. Though the data was marked more by frequency than by severity, several of the victims reported traumatic brain injuries. These led to more general liability claims than to workers' compensation claims.

Researchers believe that business owners should promote risk awareness among customers and clients. They should also make sure their floors are slip-resistant. A tribometer could, for example, measure DCOF levels.

Even if the floors are resistant, business owners could neglect to put up warning signs when they're wet or fail to have adequate lighting. Victims of slip and fall accidents should speak with a lawyer because he or she will take these facts into account when assessing the injury claim. Any contributory negligence on the victim's part could lower the potential settlement. The lawyer can then hire investigators in the effort to find favorable evidence, negotiating with the insurance companies afterwards and litigating as a last resort.

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