Algae buildup makes walking surfaces very slippery, often resulting in dangerous hazards. Studies have shown that wet algae are more slippery than ice. You are most likely to find algae in damp and humid areas of the country like South Florida. So, when you slip and fall on algae, who is liable? Do you have reasonable grounds to sue?
Let us take you through the facts of an algae slip and fall injury and how best to go about it for reasonable compensation. But first, you must know that algae are precisely what you slipped on.
What Are Algae And How Do They Look Like?
Scientifically, algae are a broad category of aquatic organisms capable of carrying out photosynthesis. There are many different types of algae. Green algae are most commonly found in tropical climates, as in South Florida. Algae thrive in warm and sunny weather. They are most commonly seen when temperatures rise above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Algae generally appear on exterior surfaces around a property. These surfaces most commonly include parking lots, driveways, walkways, decks, patios, and stairways.
Who Is Responsible For Preventing The Buildup Of Algae?
In most cases, it is the property owner or landlord’s responsibility to ensure proper maintenance and safety. However, they may transfer these responsibilities to the tenant. Alternatively, the owner may use the services of a property management company or a contractor to maintain and clean the property. More often than not, there are multiple parties liable for algae buildup.
What Causes Algae and How Can It Be Prevented?
The most common causes of algae include:
- Improper grading – Design of the surface does not allow water to run off into the soil or drain. The water stands still on the surface instead where it may cultivate algae.
- Improper drainage – You see this when water collects from rain, sprinklers etc. The best indication of improper drainage is if standing water can only disappear through evaporation. The wet area provides an excellent habitat for algae to grow and thrive.
- Failure to regularly clean and maintain the surface – Cleaners should use algae stain removing or other similar cleaning products while cleaning such surfaces. When there is significant algae growth, it may be necessary to pressure wash the surface
Preventive measures include:
- Anti-slip additive in paint
- Regular cleaning and pressure washing
- Proper grading and drainage during planning and construction
- Regular safety inspections
Can You Sue If You Slip On Algae?
Yes, you can sue, but you will only be successful if it can be proven that the party responsible for the surface where you slipped acted negligently. Negligence can be proven with evidence showing that the property owner or other responsible party knew or should have known of the algae growth and failed to remove the danger. You are entitled to compensation if you can show that the property owner’s negligence caused your injury. Your recovery may include damages for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, emotional distress, mental anguish, and the loss of capacity for past and future pleasure of life.
However, you do not always need to file a lawsuit. If your lawyer can settle a case for a reasonable amount without filing a lawsuit, it may save you money.
What Affects The Value Of Your Compensation?
Several factors will determine how much compensation you get if you get one. Some of these factors include the severity of the injury, the type of medical treatment received, the amount of medical expense incurred, the amount of wages lost, and whether you shared any responsibility for slipping and falling.
Were You Negligent in Any Way?
Did you see a harmful circumstance and have a chance to avoid it but didn’t? Expect your claim’s total worth to reduce due to your comparative negligence.
Defenses to Algae Slip and Fall Claims
If you slip and fall on algae in a private space, it may be easier to prove than a fall on algae in a natural setting. The accused may argue that the algae were beyond their control. Other possible defenses to the claim may include:
- You knew the area contained hazardous algae buildup and did not walk carefully.
- You were distracted by your phone or something else and should have seen the open and dangerous condition of the floor.
Steps To Take When You Slip On Algae and Hurt Yourself
You need to take crucial steps after slipping on algae to strengthen your case by providing concrete evidence.
Check for Injuries and Seek Medical Attention
Medical attention should be your number one priority following any type of injury. It will help if you start by checking for apparent injuries. You can then seek further medical attention from a doctor.
Photograph and Video the Scene where You Fell
Property owners will rush to clean the algae from the surface as soon as they hear that someone hurt themselves on it. While cleaning the surface is the right thing to do, the evidence is also washed away.
Immediately after the accident, take pictures and videos of the entire incident scene and the algae. Make sure to capture video and photos from afar besides the close-up photos. You should take enough pictures and video so that anyone viewing them can see the entire route you took.
Report Your Incident
Report the incident to the property owner, manager, or landlord. Ask them to provide you with a written report. Don’t provide detailed statements about the incident until you’ve spoken with an attorney.
You also have the right to request the property owner to preserve the evidence. Do this as soon as possible in writing to avoid losing the evidence.
Contact an Attorney
Slip and fall cases are more complex than most people imagine. To fully optimize your premises liability case, you will need an attorney who is experienced in this area. The lawyer will help you in the following ways:
- Your lawyer will write to the defendant’s business, requesting the preservation of all evidence of the fall. Most companies have video surveillance installed everywhere. Video evidence is the most powerful type of evidence.
- Your lawyer will assist you in obtaining the medical treatment that you need.
- Your lawyer will present your case to the responsible parties and negotiate a settlement.
- Your lawyer will file a lawsuit for and fight for your rights in court if a fair settlement cannot be obtained.
- Your lawyer will help you maximize your case value.
Contact Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA, to speak with an attorney with years of experience representing individuals who have suffered injuries due to slipping and falling on algae. For a free consultation, call (305) 694-2676 today.