What Are The Most Common Causes Of Slip & Fall Or Trip & Fall Accidents In New York?

By Anthony A. Ferrante, Esq.

Any dangerous condition can cause a slip and fall or a trip and fall accident.

One of most common causes of slip and fall accidents is water: water leaking from a refrigerator, water coming in from an open window, some kind of water leaking from a ceiling. Perhaps there are pipes that are leaking and they’re causing a recurrent ceiling drip that leads to a slippery floor beneath that ceiling.

You can have a valid slip and fall claim on any type of a liquid, whether it be soda or something as crazy as urine.

But those types of claims are a little bit more difficult to prove because the concept of notice comes in. If you’re going to have a valid claim as to soda or water or something that was obviously dropped by another person or another entity, then you have to show that the owner of the building was aware of that condition or they should have been aware with reasonable inspection of that condition and made it safe.

As far as sidewalks are concerned, snow and ice on sidewalks is a very common cause or defective condition.

Raised or un-level sidewalks, meaning at the point where two sidewalk flags meet there is a raised portion. That can often trap or snare your toe and cause you to just tumble forward.

Not only are there raised sidewalks, but there could be depressions or holes in sidewalks.

Let’s say that there is ongoing construction, you will sometimes see a temporary sidewalk created. And with these temporary sidewalks come temporary ramps. Almost inevitably these ramps are somehow defective and dangerous because of a raised portion or an uneven portion, whatever the case might be.

Quite often you’ll have some kind of a hidden object. Let’s say you’re in a grocery store and you’re turning a corner and it’s not a particularly well-kept grocery store and there are some milk cartons or milk, those milk baskets that are just left strewn about. Part of it catches your leg as you’re turning a corner.

A very common case that I’ve seen in grocery stores is in the fruit and vegetable section, or really in the vegetable section of a grocery store.

They will often have these sprayers, and the sprayers, their purpose is to keep the vegetables fresh. But in the process of doing that, they wet the floor and they create this very dangerous, slippery condition on the floor. And I can think of six cases right now that I’m handling with that specific set of facts, as crazy as that might sound.

Getting to incidents or accidents that happen on stairways or in residential buildings, the lack of a handrail is a very common defective condition that we’ll bring a case for. Meaning that there should have been a handrail or even if there’s one handrail, there should have been two and they failed to put that in.

Or perhaps it’s a very wide staircase, and in addition to two handrails on each side, they should have had a handrail in the middle but they failed to put that in according to the building code.

There are other building code violations, which are very, very, very common causes of action, like uneven riser heights. So any kind of step is made up of a riser and the platform. And as you’re coming down the steps, the human body is conditioned to have level steps as you’re going down. It’s what you expect. If you have riser heights that are 10 inches and 6 inches, then that will cause you to lose your balance. And that’s a violation of a building code, an uneven riser height.

Any kind of a hole or a defect or a problem on steps themselves is very dangerous and also common, particularly with the non-stick or non-slip skid treads at the edge of a step. Quite often, people will put those on but they become loose. They become broken and that’s often a problem.

Lack of lighting is often a problem on steps and inside of properties. If there’s no light, you just can’t see what’s going on, and you fall.