Move from one room to another in any home or building and you may see a lot of changes in the flooring materials being used. It could be from a carpeted hallway to a tiled bathroom in a hotel, for instance, or just from one type of tile to another. Flooring around fireplaces is often made of stone and sits higher than the floor around it. Wood floors often switch over to tile or laminate — or a composite material — in the kitchen.
We often think of these things as mere cosmetic changes. However, when you look at common examples, you can quickly see a theme: The flooring changes can create a trip-and-fall hazard.
Sometimes, a hazard is due to height. A smooth wood floor may switch to tile that is just a millimeter taller. Even when it looks great, it means that edge is now a trip hazard as people walk through, relying on muscle memory.
Other times, the risk comes from differences in traction. If you’re walking on a tough carpet, you know you’re not going to slip. If you step off onto smoothly polished tiles, though, that first step can feel like stepping onto ice. You could easily slip and fall, especially if there is too much polish or if the tiles are wet.
Without a doubt, the most hazardous flooring changes are at the top of the stairs. Even a minor difference could put you off balance as you stand over a ten-foot drop.
Have you been injured in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property? You have a right to financial compensation for your injuries and losses if someone else’s negligent choice of flooring caused that fall.