Slip and fall claims cost businesses, including Condo Associations, over $11 Billion per year. Condo associations are unique because they often have public access areas such as sidewalks open to individuals other than unit owners. Associations may often see claims brought on by vendors, delivery people, and the general public for injuries caused by uneven walkways, holes or slippery surfaces.
Slip and Falls aren’t limited to the winter months due to snow and ice. Marble and other natural surfaces can become quite slippery when exposed to water this includes but not limited to entryways, pool areas, and bathrooms.
What can Associations do to limit the number of claims?
Proper management and maintenance teams and protocols. The best thing any association can do to mitigate against high claims is to maintain a regular maintenance schedule and have eagle eye employees looking out for hazards. Proactive versus reactive fixes will save a lot of money and aggravation for all involved.
The following are some proactive measures your association can take:
- Mats and warning signs on slippery surfaces
- Safety warnings & protocols in and around pools and hot tub areas – such as NO RUNNING. Obvious we agree, but none the less an important measure to take
- Emergency protocols for bad weather – be it snow, wind, or rain. The quicker you can close off dangerous areas and address problem ones – such as sanding and salting in the winter – the better off you will be
- Inspection of sidewalks and steps for degrading, holes, and dips – anything that someone can trip on
- Inspection of lawns and common areas – for holes and erosion
- Awareness of owner property neglect. If a unit owner poses a threat to others, this needs to be addressed. This depends on your association by-laws of course, but due diligence should be taken to ensure a safe environment for all.
Associations should also closely review vendor contracts – landscapers, snow removal, contractors or anyone that could potentially pose a slip and fall situation if they neglected to deliver what was promised. Contracts should include indemnification and you should require the contractor to have adequate liability insurance. Always ask for a recent Certificate of Insurance!
In the end, it’s all about the due diligence! Lawsuits, be it warranted or not, are emotionally and financially draining on all involved. Taking steps to avoid claims in the first place should be everyone’s priority.
We are always willing to do a Risk Assessment and Loss Control Review with you to identify any potential hazards.