How Unsecured Mats and Carpets Contribute to Treacherous Slip and Fall Situations in Maryland

Slip and fall accidents are unfortunately common occurrences that can lead to serious injuries with costly medical bills and lost income. Property owners and managers have a legal duty under Maryland premises liability laws to keep their property reasonably safe for visitors. Failing to properly secure mats, rugs, and carpets is a frequent cause of hazardous conditions that result in injurious falls. This article will examine how unfastened floor coverings can create slippery situations and look at the legal responsibility of property owners.

How Loose Mats and Carpets Become Tripping Hazards

Mats, rugs, and carpets that are not properly fastened to the floor can easily shift, buckle, and curl at the edges. This allows the floor covering to slide when stepped on, causing visitors to lose traction and balance. Property maintenance issues that contribute to unsecured carpeting include:

  • Worn out carpet grippers that fail to keep the flooring in place
  • Missing or inadequate carpet tape at seams and edges
  • Failure to use non-slip carpet pads underneath
  • Loose mats that lack non-slip backing

If the flooring slides even slightly underfoot, it can lead to a fall. This effect is amplified when stepping off the loose mat and onto a smooth floor surface. Tripping also occurs when raised carpet edges and curled corners create an obstacle a person can catch their foot on.

All it takes is a small amount of movement caused by unsecured mats or carpets to jeopardize someone’s stability and cause a damaging slip, trip, or fall accident.

Why Loose Rugs and Mats Present Problems

There are a few key reasons why unfastened floor coverings routinely cause falls. These include:

Concealed Hazards

Rolled or buckled edges blend in seamlessly with the carpeting or rug and are not apparent hazards. Visitors will not see or expect the flooring to slide when stepped on until it is too late.

Changes in Friction

The loose mat, rug, or carpeting will not have the same level of friction compared to the actual floor surface. Stepping onto or off an unsecured floor covering introduces a dramatic change in traction that can lead to slips.

Lack of Attention to Detail

Some property owners fail to notice the subtle signs of loose carpets, misjudge the required maintenance, or take shortcuts when properly installing floor coverings. This lack of attention to detail allows unsafe conditions to persist.

High Traffic Areas Prone to Problems

Loose mats and carpets are often situated at entryways, checkout lines, and other high foot traffic areas. The constant walking over these high-use zones makes it even more likely the flooring will become unsecured. Failsafes to keep them in place are critical.

For these reasons, unsecured rugs and mats present hidden dangers that easily catch people off guard and cause them to fall and injure themselves.

Serious Injuries from Trips, Slips, and Falls

Falls due to unsecured carpets and mats often lead to serious bodily harm, especially for elderly visitors who are prone to unsteady gaits, balance issues, and brittle bones. Common severe injuries from these accidents include:

  • Broken bones and fractures requiring surgery
  • Traumatic head and brain injuries such as concussions or hemorrhages
  • Joint dislocations and ligament/tendon tears
  • Back and spine injuries like herniated discs
  • Deep cuts and abrasions needing stitches
  • Hip fractures leading to hospitalization

In addition to immediate trauma, slip and fall victims can be left with chronic pain, expensive medical treatment, physical therapy, disabilities, and reduced mobility. Activities of daily living may become difficult or impossible. Permanent scarring and a lower quality of life are other consequences.

When slip and fall accidents result in fatalities, grieving family members may bring wrongful death claims against the property owner. Clearly, unsecured carpets and mats that lead to falls introduce a substantial risk of catastrophic harm.

Maryland Premises Liability Laws

Property owners in Maryland have a legal obligation to keep their premises reasonably safe under premises liability laws. Just a few examples where this duty applies include:

  • Retail stores and supermarkets
  • Hotels, resorts, and casinos
  • Medical and dental facilities
  • Private homes and residential properties
  • Gyms, parks, and recreational sites
  • Restaurants, bars, and coffee shops
  • Nursing homes and assisted living facilities

For public spaces, property owners must regularly inspect for any tripping dangers and promptly fix hazards like unsecured mats and carpets. Customers and visitors entering a property must be warned of any known dangers that cannot be immediately fixed or cordoned off.

If a visitor suffers injuries in a fall due to an unsecured floor covering, the property owner may be held liable for negligence through a premises liability lawsuit. If it can be proven that the property owner should reasonably have known about the unsecured floor and taken steps to either fix it or warn people about it, then a case can be made. Victims can recover damages for all their injuries, losses, medical costs, and pain and suffering.

Act Now to Avoid Liability

Property owners and managers should frequently inspect for any slip, trip, or fall dangers related to loose mats, rugs, or carpets. Proactive fixes include:

  • Replacing worn carpet grippers and pads
  • Using double-sided tape to fully adhere floor coverings
  • Installing non-slip pads underneath area rugs
  • Only using commercial-grade mats with rubber backing
  • Removing any warped, curling, or bulging sections

Prompt action to secure floor coverings helps minimize the chances of someone suffering serious injuries. For older facilities with persistent problems keeping carpets and mats secured, property owners may need to look into replacing all of the flooring in order to provide safe conditions.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from an unsecured floor covering, consult with one of our attorneys today. Financial recovery for your damages and lost quality of life is possible. With 32 offices in 19 states, including Maryland, Tennessee, and Virginia, we are well-placed to advise on your case. Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597 to discuss your legal options. Don’t wait to get the personalized legal help you deserve.