Slips, Trips and Falls

Hazard detection  |   Location of attention  |  Illumination

Was the hazard Open & Obvious?

Property owners must maintain safe premises. The question often remains: "Was the trip hazard open and obvious?" Several human factors relate to the ability of a pedestrian to detect and identify a trip hazard, including lighting, conspicuity (an object's attention-grabbing characteristics), foreseeable travel path, the size of the object and if the person had previously encountered the object. The above speed bump was installed at a location with at least three potental vehicle-pedestrian conflicts, where the plaintiff was monitoring an approaching vehicle as she tripped on the speed bump.

In another fall case, off of a curb (or "single-riser stair"), we successfully illuminated the jury's understanding of the factors that contributed to the fall, and the ease by which the property owners could and should have mitigated the known hazard -- a $790,000 verdict.