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Alvin Wolff Jr. & Associates

Tenacious Premises Liability Attorneys Representing St. Louis and all of Missouri


What is a Slip and Fall Index Tool?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a million slip and fall accidents occur each year in the United States, resulting in thousands of deaths.


Slip and fall injuries suffered by shop customers are common triggers for personal injury lawsuits, and a slip and fall index tool is one way of gathering persuasive evidence to support the plaintiff’s claim.   


Background: Personal Injury Law and “Reasonable Care”


A merchant who invites the public to frequent his establishment is required by law to exercise reasonable care in ensuring safe conditions for his customers. Reasonable care is legally defined as the actions that a reasonably prudent person would take to guard against foreseeable risks of injury (placing warning signs on wet floors, for example). Whether or not a merchant exercised reasonable care depends on the facts of each individual case.


You cannot win a personal injury lawsuit unless you can establish that the merchant failed to exercise reasonable care. If the merchant did exercise reasonable care, you cannot win a slip and fall lawsuit even if you were injured on the premises, because a merchant is not expected to insure his customers against all possible risks. Your personal injury lawsuit might not succeed, for example, if:

  • your child was injured after climbing a scaffolding in a restricted area of the shop;

  • you slipped and fell on an otherwise safe floor when an earthquake hit the area; or

  • you deliberately walked on an area of the floor that was conspicuously marked “Caution: Wet Floor”.


The Slip and Fall Index Tool


A merchant may defend a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit by claiming that he exercised reasonable care in his maintenance of the floor because several thousand people visited his shop that day and no one else was injured. This claim in effect challenges you to produce positive evidence that the section of the floor upon which you slipped was unreasonably dangerous. To this end, some lawyers use a “slip and fall index tool” to produce evidence that the floor was unreasonably dangerous.


A slip and fall index tool is a simple mechanical device that, when placed on a section of flooring, measures the likelihood that a person wearing a normal pair of shoes will slip on that particular section. This likelihood is based on the angle of incline of the floor (if any) and the slipperiness of the floor (due to waxing, for example). A slip and fall index tool calculates the slippage of the device on the section of the floor upon which it is placed, and assigns a numerical “slip and fall” rating to it. This approach is useful evidence in slip and fall lawsuits, because the assignment of a numerical value to the “slipperiness” of the relevant section of the floor will often satisfy a court’s demand for objective evidence.



Slip and fall photo credit


In the foregoing example, you might rebut the merchant’s claim that the fact that no one else was injured proves he exercised reasonable care by showing that the slip and fall index was 8.6 on the spot where you slipped, versus of three to four for the rest of the floor.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, your case doesn’t have to descend into a swearing contest between your word and the merchant’s word. A skilled slip and fall accident attorney can help you gather the objective evidence you will need to prove your claim.


Help Your Claim by Taking Immediate Steps to Preserve Evidence of Your Injury

We have handled hundreds of successful slip-and-fall claims throughout St. Louis and all of Missouri over the last 30 years. Whether it is a fall on a city sidewalk, a store, a restaurant, a parking lot, or anywhere else, we can give you an analysis and help you determine whether you have a claim or even if you need a lawyer at at all. Determining fault in a premises liability case can be a tricky process; however, our team of of experienced attorneys takes a variety of measures to help your case in every way that we can. Here’s how slip-and-fall cases are handled here at our firm:

Proving Fault in Premises Liability Claims

The first and most important step to take in building your case is preserving any available evidence before it's misplaced or destroyed (unintentionally or not). These days, many businesses and other venues have surveillance cameras that may have recorded the incident. This video evidence is instrumental to determining the facts in your case, and can be a very persuasive tool should your claim go to trial.

We also make use on on-the-scene evidence collected by our clients. For example, if you slip on a foreign object or a wet spot on a floor, take a picture of the scene with your cell phone because once you fall, that area will be cleaned immediately and the evidence will be gone. The same goes for inadequately cleared snow and ice on a parking lot that causes a fall. One picture or video says a thousand words and can help make your case.

Detailed Medical Record Keeping Can Help You Receive Compensation

When building your premises liability case, our attorneys work closely with your doctor to make sure that there’s an adequate record of your injuries and treatment. Demonstrating the affect that your injuries have had on your personal life are an essential part of your claim. If you’ve missed work, required physical therapy, or incurred siginificant medical costs as a result of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation to offset these costs. Without careful record keeping, recovering this money is made significantly more difficult.

Thorough Research & Investigation Can Uncover Additional Details

Has the store in which you fell had a problem in the past with dangerous conditions? Have they been cited before for not adhering to federal or state-regulated safety conditions? Have people complained before about potential hazards? These are all questions that need answering as we build your case. Establishing any of these questions as true can absolutely have a positive affect on your claim’s odds of success. We take a tenacious approach to case research, leaving no stone unturned.

If you’ve slipped, fallen, or otherwise injured yourself due to dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, it’s imperative that you protect your legal rights. Contact an eperienced attorney who will be able to assess your potential case and tell you whether you shoulde pursue compensation for your injuries. At the Law Offices of Alvin Wolff Jr. & Associates, we have an extensive record of successfully representing injured plaintiffs. Call us today at 314-214-2500 for a free case analysis.