The Science Behind Trip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall, or trip and fall, personal injury cases involve claims for damages that arise from a person slipping (or tripping) and falling as a result of the negligence of another. Trip / slip and fall accidents are part of the area of law known as torts. Usually, these premises liability claims are based on a property owners failure to maintain his property in a reasonably safe condition. As a result, someone is caused to fall on a hazardous part of the property, such as a hole in the sidewalk, and suffer injuries.

Human Factors Experts Can Help The Understand Conditions that Cause People to Fall

Human factors is a science that studies how people interact with conditions in the environment. According to the The University of Minesota’s website on Human Factors:

“Human Factors is relevant in all things that people use or touch, all things with which they interact, and all activities in which they participate…In short, human factors is everywhere.”

The field includes the study of human capabilities, limitations and tendencies. Human factors professionals study, among other things, how people perceive and respond to the circumstances they encounter, what they tend to do in certain situations, and how buildings, structures and other properties can be designed safely to prevent falls.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, describes this field of study as furthering

“serious consideration of knowledge about the assignment of appropriate functions for humans and machines, whether people serve as operators, maintainers, or users in the system. And, it advocates systematic use of such knowledge to achieve compatibility in the design of interactive systems of people, machines, and environments to ensure their effectiveness, safety, and ease of performance.”

The human factors field is recognized by organizations such as the National Safety Council, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, all branches of the U.S. Military.

Applying Science to a Premises Liability Case

In trip / slip and fall cases, attorney Brent Wieand will often retain a human factors expert to offer expert opinion why a condition of the property was dangerous or hazardous. They can help evaluate and describe a persons actions within certain environments to help understand the visual and audible cues that affected their behavior. Human factors experts are uniquely qualified to help a jury understand why a trip and fall accident occurred. This is because they spend years researching topics such as perception, attention, distraction and risk perception. In the courtroom, human factors experts apply their expertise in these areas to account for factors that contributed to a trip / slip and fall accident.
Some common factors that may cause or contribute to a trip and fall include:

  • inadequate or ineffective warnings
  • a persons reaction time
  • inadequate illumination of a walkway
  • height difference in sidewalks or steps
  • lack of visual cues and contrast in steps or walkways
  • the geometry of stairways and walkways
  • the adaptation of visual systems from brighter to darker conditions
  • distractions
  • adequacy (or lack) of handrails
  • conditions that were unexpected and violated of a persons expectations

Many times a hazardous property is an accident waiting to happen. Presenting the jury with the science behind a fall is an effective way to combat the common presumption that the Plaintiff must have tripped or slipped because of her own carelessness.

Experienced Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer Brent Wieand

If a serious injury or wrongful death occurs as a result of a hazardous condition of a another’s property you may be able a claim to recover compensation for your damages. Attorney Brent Wieand has significant experience representing clients who suffered debilitating injuries in falls caused the negligence of another person, business or government. He is located in Philadelphia and proud to represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Attorney Wieand offers a free legal consultation and you will never pay costs or fees unless he recovers money for you. Don’t be a victim twice, get professional legal advice today! Call experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer Brent Wieand directly at (215) 666-7777.
*Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you suffered an injury in a fall you should always consult a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.

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