Despite your best efforts, there may be an incident on or in your commercial property where a tenant or visitor slips and falls. Though you’ve been careful with the cleaning and have employed warning signs, these fall claims could be highly detrimental to your property management work and could impact your relationships with tenants. Learn how to work to prevent these incidents and then to get back on your feet if they happen anyway.
Don’t Let Slip, Trip and Fall Claims Bring You Down
If it’s raining outside and people walk in across your polished floors without drying their shoes well enough, it’s entirely possible that they will slip. Even if there’s no inclement weather, the regular cleaning of your floors may result in a fallen tenant or visitor. How do you try and protect yourself (and those people) from these potential injuries so as to keep everyone safe and to avoid future fall claims?
Begin with an understanding of where these incidents most occur. Areas with increased fall potential are both outside and indoors, including sidewalks that may be uneven, cracks in the asphalt, staircases with no rails to hold onto, small steps up or down into offices that go unnoticed, and many more. It’s a lot of ground to cover, but if you take the time to regularly check for possible hazards, it will pay off in the long run.
Unfortunately, something like spilled water can happen anywhere, if there isn’t carpet to absorb it, it means a nearly-invisible danger on any smooth flooring. If you can replace the type of flooring to one that both catches liquid and is attractive, that would be the most encompassing solution, but you could also consider something like brighter lighting in common areas (particularly near water fountains or vending machines) so that people will more easily notice a spill.
If you have mats inside the doors (and you should), remember that the mats themselves can lead to fall claims if they “curl or buckle” and a person then trips over them. Other less-common issues that may not occur to you are “poorly calibrated elevators,” which means that, when the doors open, the elevator isn’t completely level with the ground outside, which could result in yet another tripping hazard. Make sure to have your mats replaced as needed and your elevators checked by maintenance regularly to prevent these two particular dangers.
Consider the people who work in and regularly visit your building. It’s important to remember the difference between a younger person falling in the parking lot versus a much older person, considering one will recover fairly quickly and the other might need serious medical attention. That is, the fallout is likely to be that the younger person won’t need to, or won’t think to, file a fall claim, while the older individual and/or their family may feel the need, to cover any related medical expenses. “Legally, you’re responsible if your neglected spill or sidewalk injures someone, regardless of whether they’re your employee, a vendor, or a customer.”
Not practicing due diligence in these situations can result in massive payouts to account for damages. Even if you do employ safety measures all across the board, you need to be prepared for the possibility that an accident will occur anyway, and one that you will need to deal with, legally. Speak with your insurance agent early on to gain a real understanding of the type of coverage that you have for your commercial property and what you will face if a fall claim arises. Protect yourself at least in part with regular and thorough inspections, employing a highly-trained and competent team to do the job. It will help you in the long run to have accounts of when you had the conditions of the property checked over so that you can easily provide that information if needed.
While you put together a strategy for protecting against and dealing with slip and fall incidents, leave the rest of your commercial property management work to an easy-to-use software solution. Anton Systems wants your day to day to be as stress-free as possible, which is why we offer training in a few of the best systems available to property managers. One such system is Budgetrac Property Management Software, which keeps your information organized and all in one place for easy access. Learn more about what Budgetrac can do for you and your business so that you can focus on keeping everyone on your property safe and protected.