At approximately 1:00 am, a patron and his three companions left the Un-named Karaoke Bar & Restaurant. The patron reportedly slipped and fell on the painted concrete area outside the entrance, falling forward and hitting his face on the concrete, incurring considerable dental damage in the incident. Further, one of his companions also slipped on that same surface, just prior to his fall.
Garrett Engineers, Inc. was assigned to review photographs of the location and other documents, including the claimant’s statement, to examine the site, and perform a safety analysis, including an evaluation of the slipperiness of the walkway surface in that area.
Our expert received and reviewed the appropriate documents. He then researched the weather conditions for the approximate date of loss. The weather reports indicated that the maximum temperatures for the days before and after the incident were approximately 90 degrees and the minimum temperatures were in the middle 50 degree range. The dew point on both days was considerably lower than the minimum temperature. Therefore there would not be any presence of dew on the walkway surface, even at 1:00 am.
Our expert then examined, tested and photographed the site in question. The appearance of the area agreed with the photographs provided by the client. He selected four areas over the general painted concrete area and measured the slip resistance at each spot, each in the four cardinal directions, using an English XL Slipmeter to determine the slipperiness. Measurements were made at each location under both wet and dry conditions.
No single test yielded an anti-slip reading below .65 when dry and below .55 when wet. When dry, the average readings varied from .70 to .80 and when wet the average readings varied from .59 to .66. It is generally accepted that readings above .50 indicate a walkway surface that is safe with respect to slipperiness. In this case all reading were well above the .50 criteria.
The slopes at various areas were measured and varied from 1.5 degrees to 4 degrees, which are acceptable slopes for pedestrian walkway surfaces.
The conclusion was that a dangerous walkway surface was not the cause of the patron’s injuries.
The patron reportedly fell on his face, but his statement also reported that the fall that he had suffered when he was injured occurred when he was trying to get up after falling a first time. Typically, a person slipping and falling does not fall forward in a normal slip and fall incident. He falls backwards in a slip and he falls forward in a trip.
There were no surveillance cameras. So what was the most likely scenario? The most likely scenario was that the patron tripped over his companion, and struck his face as the two of them were attempting to untangle their arms and legs, from each other, on the sidewalk, in the dark, after a late night at the bar.