Nobody wants to hear from their lawyer that a slip-and-fall lawsuit has been filed against their company. Unfortunately, in the pavement business, this is a common claim, and one any pavement company is likely to face.
Falling is serious business. Each year, over eight million emergency room visits are due to falls, and roughly one million of those are attributed to “slip and falls”. Slip and fall lawsuits are one of the most common personal injury lawsuits in the United States. The Pavement Network spoke with Chris Stephens, Vice President of Pavecon, about Pavecon’s experiences with slip and fall claims and how to handle them when they arise.
Stephens notes that Pavecon experiences a couple of slip-and-fall claims every year. These claims come against Pavecon through previous client properties where Pavecon has provided parking lot services. He adds that these clients are typically big-box retail stores with high traffic and large parking lots. The majority of these claims for Pavecon are pavement marking slip and fall claims.
Slip and fall claims can be difficult for the claimant (the person bringing the case) to prove, but that doesn’t mean the claim won’t be filed and lawyers and insurance companies will have to get involved. Most of these cases are settled out of court, with the average payout for a slip-and-fall case between $10,000 and $50,000. Sometimes these numbers can go much higher, depending on the severity of the injury and the claim. At Pavecon, the average is a little higher, with claims-paying roughly $80,000. Over the last five years, the company had $592,435.18 in slip and fall claims and currently has five unresolved claims.
What can be done to limit claims against pavement network members? Unfortunately, not a lot without some prevention. “We try to fight them, but we really have no defense if we haven’t applied a non-slip additive to the marking paint,” Stephens says.
Going forward, Pavecon has decided to add broken beads or shark grip to all parking lot paint. Including one of these additives ensures better legal protection against slip and fall lawsuits, although it’s unlikely to prevent all claims.
Pavecon is also adjusting the language of their terms and conditions within their contracts with customers to clarify that it is the customer’s responsibility, and not Pavecon’s, to keep the non-slip surface up to date. This is a recent change so Stephens doesn’t yet have feedback on whether this will limit the number of slip-and-fall cases against the company in the future. The reality is slip and fall cases will continue, but with a little thought and prevention, we hope to limit claims against pavement network members.
Have you faced slip and fall claims and found a way to limit cost and damages to your company? Do you have advice for fellow Pavement Network members on how to prevent or handle these claims? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.