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Falls: Example Cases

• Trip and fall on mat in grocery store
Sixty-five-year-old woman entered grocery store, tripped on edge of rain mat in entryway, could not regain her balance, fell and broke her hip.

It was dark outside. The rain mat had been placed in the entryway because of rain earlier that day. The edges of the mat were curled. No signs or cones had been placed in the entryway.

The plaintiff's attorney retained the human factors expert. After expert read depositions, conducted a site inspection, and interviewed the plaintiff, he provided a verbal report to the attorney on typical patterns of gaze and locomotion, dark adaptation, expectation, visibility of obstacles, warnings, and safety practices. The case was settled before deposition.

• Trip and fall on walkway displacement at gas station
Thirty-five-year-old woman entered mini-mart at gas station to pay for her gas. Upon leaving the mini-mart, she tripped on a 3/4 inch displacement in the asphalt, could not regain her balance, fell and broke her wrist.

The incident occurred on a sunny afternoon. The woman had not visited this gas station before. There was much vehicular traffic at the gas station and much pedestrian traffic at the mini-mart.

The plaintiff's attorney retained the human factors expert. After expert read depositions, conducted a site inspection, viewed a videotape of the incident, and interviewed the plaintiff, he provided a written report and deposition testimony on typical patterns of gaze and locomotion, visual perception, light adaptation, expectation, human information processing, visibility of obstacles, and safety practices. The case was settled before trial.

• Slip and fall on wet marble floor in building lobby
Sixty-four-year-old man exited elevator, took two steps onto ground-floor lobby, slipped on wet floor, could not regain his balance, and fell.

The incident occurred on a rainy day. No rain mats or warning signs had been placed at the lobby entry.

The plaintiff's attorney retained the human factors expert. After expert read depositions, examined maintenance records, conducted a site inspection, examined shoes, measured slip-resistance under wet and dry conditions, and interviewed the plaintiff, he provided deposition testimony on typical patterns of gaze and locomotion, visual perception and visibility, expectation and human information processing, slip resistance, warnings, and safety practices. The case was settled before trial.

• Slip and fall outside office building on ramp
Fifty-seven-year-old woman walked from her office to her car on a rainy afternoon, taking a familiar route that included a ramp. As she descended the ramp, her foot slipped, she could not regain her balance, and she fell.

The defense attorney retained the human factors expert. After expert read depositions, conducted a site inspection, examined shoes, and measured slip-resistance under wet and dry conditions, he provided a written report on typical patterns of gaze and locomotion, visual perception and visibility, expectation and human information processing, and slip resistance. The case was settled before deposition.

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