The 5 Most Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents and How to Avoid Them

An average of 800,000 Californians are hospitalized each year from slip and fall accidents, according to the CDC. In fact, some of the latest findings suggest that nearly 3,000 people per day must seek medical attention for injuries ranging from minor to severe for slip and fall inceidents. There are 5 common causes for slip and fall accidents. In this article, we will not only explore these 5 common causes, but we will also discuss how to help prevent them. Remember, if you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall accident in the state of California, you should consult with an experienced slip and fall attorney to represent you and to get you the justice and compensation you deserve.

Uneven Surfaces

Uneven surfaces are a major factor in slip and fall accidents. Most uneven surfaces are subtle, requiring a keen sense of your surroundings to notice them. Most will not if you are walking while texting, speaking to a friend, walking your dog, or even lost in thought. This can result in a slip and fall that can have disastrous consequences, ranging from head injuries, fractured hips, contusions, and other injuries.

We can help to avoid these types of slip and fall accidents by paying attention of where we are stepping, not being distracted, and being aware of our surroundings at all times. While this may not prevent every fall, we are at least doing our part to prevent an accident.

When it comes to property owners, it is your obligation under California law to do your due diligence to ensure your property is safe for passersby, visitors, or patrons. This includes ensuring even walkways, pathways, or isles. Flooring, wherever it may be, must be even and considered safe to walk. If you are aware of uneven flooring, it is your duty to post signs that are highly visible, warning the public of possible danger, and then fix the issue as soon as you are able to. Your insurance may be able to help under some circumstances.

Wet or Slippery Floors

Wet or slippery floors is one of the most common causes for slip and fall accidents in the world. In fact, wet floor slip and falls account for approximately 460 deaths annually in the U.S. Wet and slippery floors are exceptionally dangerous because they can be next to impossible to spot. Because of the low visibility factor, significant injury could result. Injuries such as fractures, head injuries, back injuries, and more.

These incidents typically take place in grocery stores, convenience stores, and restaurants – especially buffets. But they can happen anywhere, caused by rain, a broken water pipe, a spilled water dish, and a myriad of other reasons. You can try to prevent these types of slip and fall accidents by remaining aware of your surroundings and not walking distracted. However, again, these accidents cannot be prevented 100% of the time because of the low visibility factor. Water on a tile or wood floor can be nearly invisible to the naked eye. Even so, taking the necessary precautions, such as anticipating the possibility of a wet floor can help to mitigate some instances.

As a shop keeper, store or restaurant owner, it is paramount that you take every possible precaution to prevent a patron from slipping and falling from a wet or slippery floor while patronizing your establishment. This means proper awareness, routine inspection of isle ways and other walk ways, bathroom areas, etc. Keeping adequate signage up that clearly alerts the public to a wet or slippery floor. Not only is it mandated by California law, but it is also the right thing to do. Failure to do so will make you liable for any injuries suffered by a patron who has fallen due to your negligence.

Poor Lighting

Poor lighting is another common cause of slip and fall accidents in California. Poor lighting is common in back rooms of stores, stairs, and basements or cellars. These areas are highly susceptible to slip and fall occurrences. These can happen when customers are looking for a restroom of a small store, restaurant, or pub. Or when an employee is heading down to the cellar for wine or goods. There are many reasons and ways these incidents occur, but when they do, they can result in serious injury. Some injuries can range from dislocations, lacerations, breaks, and sprains.

One way to help avoid a slip-and-fall accident due to poor lighting is to alert the owner of the establishment of the issue. Bringing attention to the source of the issue can help you to avoid a serious fall. Another thing you can do is use the flashlight on your phone to help guide to along the way. This is best if there is no one around that you can bring attention to. Most importantly, just be careful in low-lit areas. They could have many hidden dangers aside from slip and fall potential, such as exposed wires or nails, poisonous spiders, and other potential dangers.

As an owner of an establishment apartment complex, or other residential or commercial space, it is your responsibility under California law to ensure all areas accessible to the public are well-lit and free from obstructions. The onus is on you to ensure, to the best of your ability, that your property is safe to traverse, and this includes all areas having adequate lighting to avoid spills.

Loose or Damaged Flooring

Loose or damaged flooring is a common occurrence that can have disastrous consequences for those who fall victim. Loose or damaged floors can lead to serious injury due to slip and fall accidents and can be attributed to negligence if not properly highlighted to the public. It is the owner of the establishment’s responsibility to ensure the safety of their patrons, renters, or passersby – because even the curtilage (the immediate area around the establishment) is often considered to be the responsibility of the owner.

Sometimes damaged floors can be easy to spot – not always, but sometimes. It is in your best interest to avoid these areas and walk around to more solid ground. However, spotting loose floors is not always as easy. Loose flooring can look stable until you step on them. That’s when an accident can occur. It’s always best when in a space you’re unfamiliar with to stay alert and not walk distracted by texting or talking too much. Keep your eyes peeled and be cautious of where you step. Other than that, if you notice loose or damaged floors, alert the owner at once. That way, you are advocating for a safer place for yourself and others.

As an establishment owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your floors are solid and undamaged. If it is brought to your attention that your floors are in fact damaged, place adequate signage up immediately, alerting the public to the danger. Failure to do so will make you guilty of negligence due to your breach of duty of care.

Cluttered Walkways

Cluttered walkways can be found anywhere, from back storage rooms of grocery stores to isles of thrift stores, to delivery day in supermarkets and convenience stores, and more. These areas are ripe for slip-and-fall accidents and can lead to catastrophic injuries. This is because, in addition to slipping and falling, there is a chance that heavy boxes of items or goods can fall on top of you, making a bad situation worse.

It’s always a good idea to avoid cluttered walkways, isles, and backrooms to help mitigate the chances of an accident to occur. However, it isn’t always possible to avoid these areas. In these cases, just tread carefully, being sure not to bump into any of the boxes, especially if they’re stacked high. The higher the boxes, the bigger the chance for injury if they should happen to fall.

As an owner of a store or restaurant, even on delivery day, it is important that you take the necessary steps to help mitigate the chances of an accident. Stack boxes lower and keep obstructions out of the middle of walkways where patrons and employees are likely to be. Don’t create obstacles for them to overcome that could lead to a slip-and-fall accident that is compounded by falling boxes. Be sure to alert the public and employees of the potential hazards before they enter these areas.


In conclusion, slip and fall accidents can happen when they are least expected. Always try to watch your step and limit distractions when walking in public. Whether you are on a public sidewalk, in a grocery or convenience store, or a local department store or pub, take care not to put yourself in a possibly dangerous situation that could lead to a slip and fall.

As an establishment owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your guests and tenants. You must take every reasonable precaution to prevent accidents, such as slip and fall occurrences, from happening in the first place. Failure to do so may leave you liable for all injuries and losses under California law.

If you’ve been in a slip-and-fall accident, contact Pyramid Legal today for a free consultation.

Contact Us

    Scroll to top