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  1. #1
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    Default Trip hazard on front walkway

    An agent contacted me today about a case she's involved with where she tripped over about a 2" offsset on a front cement sidewalk. Do the same riser height rules apply as for interior stairs - meaning, nothing less than 4"?

    The only stuff I can find in the code book is in the interior section.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Anything over 1/4" is an acknowledged hazard.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Do the same riser height rules apply as for interior stairs - meaning, nothing less than 4"?
    By the way, that does not apply to dwelling units.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Anything over 1/4" is an acknowledged hazard.

    Is there a code to site? She's being told from the insurance company's lawyer (no surprise) that there is nothing wrong.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    ADA.

    Is this to a dwelling unit and its own private walkway? Or the public walkway (sidewalk as is commonly known) out front along the street?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Sidewalk leading up to the door of a single family residence from the street. It's completely on the property....

    Thanks


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Not that Google books is an authority, but ... read 1.4.1 of ASTM F1637, ASTM standards are authoritative references.

    Slip and fall prevention: a ... - Google Books

    F1637-02e1 Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces


    Copyright 2004 AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR TESTING AND MATERIALS, West Conshohocken, PA. All rights reserved.
    1.1 Scope—This practice covers design and construction guidelines and minimum maintenance criteria for new and existing buildings and structures. This practice is intended to provide reasonably safe walking surfaces for pedestrians wearing ordinary footwear. These guidelines may not be adequate for those with certain mobility impairments.
    1.2 Conformance with this practice will not alleviate all hazards; however, conformance will reduce certain pedestrian risks.
    1.3 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as the standard. The SI units given in parentheses are for information only.
    1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    My rule of thumb is you always inform a client if anything on the sidewalk or driverway is a trip hazard especially at night so I always recommended adding a sensor light where the offset area is located.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    The sidewalk in the picture below cost a homeowner approx. 40K in a law suit after a lady tripped over it and caused her many dental and fascial problems.

    The sidewalk has never been repaired as of this day.

    rick

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    I put this on every report
    FYI -
    Once you start living in the house typical maintenance will include sealing gaps or cracks at the concrete drive, patio, walks or stoops to prevent future deterioration, moisture intrusion or a trip potential.



  11. #11
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    I was not able to find anything for sidewalks, walkways, nor driveways in the IRC (2009). Anyone else have better luck?


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Paschedag View Post
    I was not able to find anything for sidewalks, walkways, nor driveways in the IRC (2009). Anyone else have better luck?

    Why are you looking in the IRC?

    Start looking in legal decisions, that is all the backing and supporting documentation you need.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Why are you looking in the IRC?

    Start looking in legal decisions, that is all the backing and supporting documentation you need.
    Because, if anywhere, it should be in there. As Ricks post stated "Dental and facials damage. A trip hazard should be noted on every report you ever do for any client anywhere. Trip and fall accidents account for a fantastic amount of injuries every year. After all, steps being certain heights and not varying is in there. Why, A trip hazard. Even if only a few steps, one is off, you trip, break you face a.

    It should be in the IRC and as standard in all cities and towns.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Because, if anywhere, it should be in there.


    It should be in the IRC and as standard in all cities and towns.

    Why?

    The IRC, as with ALL codes, is a MINIMUM standard and IS NOT INTENDED to address everything.

    Now, if the walkway is a PUBLIC walkway, then the ADA comes into play and the ADA DOES address the surface of any accessible walkway, and that surface is not allowed to have any vertical differences in elevation greater than 1/4 inch.

    If there is a change in surface elevation of greater than 1/4 inch, then an edge treatment IS REQUIRED.

    If the change in elevation is between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch, the edge shall be beveled with a slope of no greater than 1:2. That is not 1/2 inch up to 1/4 inch run (which would be 2:1), that is 1/2 inch up to 1 inch run (which is 1:2).

    If the change in elevation is greater than 1/2 inch, then the change in elevation slope must meet the requirements of a ramp which has a maximum slope of 1:12, so if the vertical elevation difference is 1 inch and the slope is greater than 1:20 (and vertical IS greater than 1:anything), then the horizontal run for the bevel would now be required to be 12 inches.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    This has also be used to say a level crack of 1/2" or more is a trip hazard also.

    Code would be a issued in some AHJ if the Property Maintenance Code is adopeted
    305.4 Stairs and walking surfaces.
    Every stair, ramp, landing, balcony, porch, deck or other walking surface shall be
    maintained in sound condition and good repair.



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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Everything in the IRC that has something to do with safety or tripping hazards and no one can understand why the walkway to the home should be mentioned. The stairs in front of the home are mentioned that brings you up to the home but does not mention tripping hazard 2 feet in front of the stairs leading up into the home. I guess it is not good to trip in the home or climbing the stairs to the home but another structure (concrete walk way) that has a tripping hazard leading to the stairs that lead you into the home is not.

    There is no excuse!

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Everything in the IRC that has something to do with safety or tripping hazards and no one can understand why the walkway to the home should be mentioned. The stairs in front of the home are mentioned that brings you up to the home but does not mention tripping hazard 2 feet in front of the stairs leading up into the home. I guess it is not good to trip in the home or climbing the stairs to the home but another structure (concrete walk way) that has a tripping hazard leading to the stairs that lead you into the home is not.

    There is no excuse!
    Ted,

    Question: You have a stepping stone walkway to the door ... the stepping stones are never even with the ground as there is grass around them which is always higher or lower than the stepping stones, so ... the IRC should address that too?

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Ted,

    Question: You have a stepping stone walkway to the door ... the stepping stones are never even with the ground as there is grass around them which is always higher or lower than the stepping stones, so ... the IRC should address that too?

    And a thousand other questions for every section of the code.

    A stone walkway is known to be uneven transmitted to your brain by your feet. The feel tells all and your step is more cautious. A concrete walkway that has split and is kicked up 3/4 to an inch or even a slight half inch throws the foot rise off and you trip because the rest of the walkway is smooth and relatively flat.

    So my question to you

    You do not right up lifted walkways and obvious (to a trained eye) trip hazards. If the answer is yes as I am sure it is then why would it not be in the IRC.

    Everyone keeps using that minimum line. That gets old for all answers.

    My opinion. It needs to be in there and a must write up in home inspections.

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    So my question to you

    You do not right up lifted walkways and obvious (to a trained eye) trip hazards. If the answer is yes as I am sure it is then why would it not be in the IRC.
    I do write that stuff up, and I write A LOT OF STUFF UP which IS NOT in the building codes ... and, NO I DO NOT EXPECT THE CODES to address *everything*.

    Everyone keeps using that minimum line. That gets old for all answers.
    Gets old or not, that is the way it is and the way it has to be, to insist otherwise would then have you complaining that the code filled a semi-trailer full and you could not afford the $50,000 code for the IRC. Much less the cost of the truck and trailer to carry it around in.

    Ted, you really need to get a grip on reality and what to expect from a MINIMUM code.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Jerry

    Nice little grinny face and all but I have a firm grip on reality. Reality also has a firm grip on me.

    It was actually quite a simple matter. Walking on any surface that is expected to be smooth and then all of a sudden there is a slight rise is a trip hazard. Walking in a yard with ups and downs and dips and holes is one thing. Walking on an uneven stone walkway is one thing. Walking on a tile floor with one tile kicked up is a trip hazard and should be addressed in your report before the new baby that just started walking or grandma that cannot walk so well trips and breaks there faces. The same thing on a front , side or rear walkway that is intended to be relatively flat with no unexpected trip hazards.

    Lets take the code books out of it. You don't write such things up ????

    The one that always touts about how wonderful and perfect he is about taking care of and watching out for his clients. How about watching out for you investor client that has tripping hazards around his future rental and tennants could be hurt.

    This is quite a simple and ethical matter I am shocked and amazed that you do not have a grip on this reality. OOOps The king of the best and 100 page reports filled with spew about everything and he does not write up a tripping hazard for his clients.

    Oh my. What is this world coming to. My opinion about the IRC tends to lean toward wondering why they address so much and then be so vague about so much and then add this or that that need not be and then do not add this or that when it is so simple and needs no three page explanation in the IRC and everyone can understand quite well why it is in there.

    Oh well. Enough of the morning spew. I have to go get a grip on reality now

    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Re:From the National Association of Home Builders publication, "Residential Construction Performance Guidelines for Professional Builders and Remodelers", 3rd Edition, under Chapter 11-4-5 and 11-4-6 Driveways and Sidewalks: If it's adjoining concrete flatwork sections that deviate in height by 1/2 or less, they don't have to fix it. So ... even if it's new work, the contractors give themselves 1/2".

    I think if a 1/4" difference is at a joint, I wouldn't make a remark. But if it was at a crack, I probably would.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA www.VaInspectionService.com

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    I have agreed to testify for the defendant. Need advice.
    Dexter Varnell
    My advice?

    Unless you have solid credentials, are familiar with personal injury cases/lawyers/depositions and how they relate to your scope of knowledge, and know exactly what the facts are, you may want to excuse yourself for your client's sake.

    However, if you do have experience as an expert witness, and have the requisite skills and demonstrated experience and knowledge of the subject matter, then what type of advice can we give you? (Or, in other words, what specific item or fact are you researching?)

    Dom.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    Plaintiff fell while walking from defendant's place of business to her car in the parking lot. She fell while stepping off a curb adjoining a public street. Curb was offset up from the sidewalk approximately 1/2 inch. Fall occurred at a divit in the curb approximately 2 inches deep. Value of the lawsuit is $500,000.00. I have agreed to testify for the defendant. Need advice.

    Dexter Varnell
    Make sure you have the correct defendant>

    Then what Dom said.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    I should also add: you've already given a bit too much information on a public web site, given that your location will narrow an internet search considerably.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Welcome Dexter,

    We could use a Man like you here. .Dexter Varnell P. E.
    .

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    How my city fixes hazardous sidewalks.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    You may want to check County ordinances. An attorney I dealt with on some cases said that Cook County had an ordinance allowing a difference in sidewalk height up to 1.25". I have unfortunately not been able to verify that in writing or text through the county. I don't know whether its legit or not.
    My point being, for a public access situation your county or municipality may have ordinances rather than something in the Code.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post

    Please tell me how to attach pictures of the problem in the next post.

    Dexter Varnell
    .

    After You Type your message Scroll down past the Submit Reply Icon to upload Photos, Click, Browse, ( the largest file is195.3k and 600 x 800 ) Upload , Close the upload photo window, You can Preview Post or Submit Reply.

    To re size photos Download Bome's Image Resizer 1.2.0.49 Beta 1 Free - This application helps you in editing a large number of image files - Softpedia is a good freeware.
    .

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    Neither raised curb nor the divit in the curb appears to be the cause of the fall. The cause of the fall could have been any number of other things.

    Normally when a person comes to a curb and starts to step off into the street, they look down, pick their foot up, and step down into the street. Plaintiff apparently did not do this.

    It is my opinion that normal rules of a safe walking surface would not apply because a curb is not part of a walking surface.

    What do you think?
    Dexter,

    If the curb is at a crosswalk of any sort where a sidewalk meets the curb, then, number one, there should be a curb cut there, number two, if it part of an accessible path, which means it is a part of the walking surface.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    Plaintiff fell while walking from defendant's place of business to her car in the parking lot. She fell while stepping off a curb adjoining a public street. Curb was offset up from the sidewalk approximately 1/2 inch. Fall occurred at a divit in the curb approximately 2 inches deep. Value of the lawsuit is $500,000.00. I have agreed to testify for the defendant. Need advice.

    Dexter Varnell
    .
    Dexter,

    Was this curb Part of a Retrofit Federally Funded Handicap Access Program?
    .

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    Offset was not in a marked public walkway. Plaintiff picked a point at random to step into a street.

    Similar to thousands of other curbs and sidewalks with minor imperfections.

    Plaintiff alleges that the minor imperfections at the curb was the cause of her fall.

    It all boils down to whether these minor imperfections were dangerous.

    The repair of all such defects in a large city would be impossible.

    What do you think.

    Dexter Varnell
    What do I think?

    First, I think you added the term "minor imperfections" to the discussion, the plaintiff probably referred to them as major lapses in maintenance.

    "The repair of all such defects in a large city would be impossible."

    While that may be a true statement, it is the job of the city public works department to keep the streets, sidewalks, and right-of-ways "safe".

    Now comes the hard part: What constitutes "safe" in the eyes of the jury (I am sure the plaintiff is seeking a jury trial, not just a hearing before a judge.

    The judge may well ignore the realities and base their decision on legal wording, juries tend to see realities and base their decision on the legal responsibility of who is to keep what how safe.

    That is not a call that anyone here can make, only those 6 fine upstanding citizens who were not able to get out of jury duty can do that.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Though the local AHJ has a responsibility to keep its streets, walkways and thoroughfares safe for public use, the legal doctrine behind any claim for injuries arising from an alleged hazard would be one of negligence. The local authority would have to be aware of the hazard, ignored any previous warning and failed to make repairs or remediation. The plaintiff would have to prove the AHJ failed to take notice of the hazard and its potential for causing injury, with supportive documentation. Slip and fall cases on both public and private property are claimed every day and are typically settled out of court for a few hundred to a few thousand $$$. Basically, 'Go-away' money.

    There would really have to be extraneous circumstances, with significant, long term, well documented injuries and municipal culpability for such a claim to go before a Judge or Jury.

    The claim loses credibility when you consider how many people traverse the same area over the course of time, without mishap. The plaintiff's own ambulatory ability, alcohol/drug consumption, age and a variety of other factors will be at issue. Courts recognize such claims are frequently 'elaborated' and that local authorities are not deep pockets for frivolous claims. Even if a Jury makes a substantial award (out of 'yeah that could/did happen to me' kind of rationalization), the damage award is frequently reversed or greatly reduced, if it ever gets that far.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Wow, nice post. Really good points, well written. Some great words there. "Traverse" and "mishap," for instance. Love it.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Kristi

    Tort- foreseeability
    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&...rFQ1Tg&cad=rja

    I. THE FORESEEABILITY PARADOX

    Foreseeability is the great paradox of tort: one of its most vital
    moral tethers, yet irretrievably its most elusive. Long recognized as
    providing tort law with principle and boundaries, foreseeability crucially
    defines the nature and scope of responsibility in tort—its internal
    meaning and proper limits—especially in negligence. Even harmful
    action cannot meaningfully be viewed as “wrong” if the actor could not
    possibly have contemplated that the action might produce the harm.
    Moreover, because the effects of all behavior extend forever, “no
    coherent conception of responsibility can suppose that a person is
    responsible for everything that could be called a consequence of [his or]
    her actions.” If roughly stated, it is largely true that “a defendant is
    responsible for and only for such harm as he could reasonably have
    foreseen and prevented.” And so foreseeability—of the kind of harm,
    from the kind of hazard, to the kind of person an actor fairly ought to
    contemplate when deciding whether and how to act—is the seamless,
    moral thread that helps define interpersonal obligations, personal
    wrongdoing, the extent of responsibility therefor, and it is the “stuff” that
    binds them all together.

    Also see
    III. FORESEEABILITY AND NEGLIGENCE
    Further down in the article
    A. Breach
    B. Proximate Cause
    C. Duty

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post

    Offset was not in a marked public walkway.

    Plaintiff picked a point at random to step into a street.

    Dexter Varnell
    .
    Street or Private Drive?
    * street = Illegal Activity (Jay Walking.)
    .

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    this info saved on computer but don't have the source, dang filing mgr. needs a tune up

    The United States Department of Transportation performed a study that determined that when a person walks normally, their foot rises as low as 3/8 of an inch off the ground. Thus, any object sticking up 3/8 of an inch or higher from a level walking space can be a tripping hazard and can cause a person walking normally to trip and fall and suffer serious personal injuries.

    Based on the above, building and maintenance codes allow for a change in height of up to a 1/4 of an inch, as this height is still below the 3/8 of an inch height that the average person may lift his or her foot while walking. However, changes in height above 1/4 of an inch require a specific form of leveling, depending on the amount of change in height and slope. For changes in height between 1/4 to 1/2 inch, the change in height must be beveled or angled so the two separate surfaces meet. Like the edge of a mirror is beveled to reduce the height difference between the surface of the mirror and the wall. For changes in height greater than 1/2 of an inch, the codes require a ramp, such as a handicap ramp that we are all familiar with or a stairway where the height and slope are greater.

    Thus, any abrupt change in height on a walking surface that is more than 1/4 of an inch in height and is not beveled or ramped constitutes a tripping hazard and if the property owner fails to repair this known tripping hazard, they will be found to be negligent and responsible for an injured person's medical bills, lost wages and personal injuries. Typical abrupt changes in height on sidewalks and walking surfaces are caused by cracked or broken pavement or raised blocks of concrete due to freeze and thaw cycles or tree roots, etc. Not surprisingly, the tripping hazards that cause the most falls and injuries are the situations where the abrupt change in height is only 3/8 of an inch to 1 inch, as this height change is enough to cause a person to trip and fall, but it is not as readily visible to the average person walking on a sidewalk, walkway, parking lot or other walking surface to see and avoid.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    .

    What do you think

    Dexter
    .
    Settle.
    .

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    The normal action that a person should take before stepping into a street is to stop, look both ways for traffic, and look down before stepping into the street.

    The plaintiff should have picked her foot up more than the 3/8 inch that was referenced in the United Stated Department of Transportation study because this would not have been a normal walking situation.
    What do you think
    .

    Unless you're an orthopedic specialist, MD, or perhaps a bio-mechanical engineer with experience in human movement/walking, how can you assert that the "plaintiff should have done this or that" or "walked this way, but not that way"?

    I think you should abort this mission.

    Dom.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    Picture is attached.

    Is this dangerous?

    I appreciate all of your posts.

    Dexter
    .
    Yes,

    Settle or as Dom suggested Bailout.
    *unless the Defendant refuses to settle and wishes to keep paying you.
    .

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    Is this dangerous?
    Dexter,

    Apparently, yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    Plaintiff fell while walking from defendant's place of business to her car in the parking lot. She fell while stepping off a curb adjoining a public street.
    And settling will likely be for far less than this:
    Value of the lawsuit is $500,000.00.
    Dexter, instead of referring to that as the "value" of the lawsuit, I would refer to that as the amount being asked for - the "value" may be far less than that, you will find out the actual value when the settlement is made.

    I was recently hired by a national chain to assess an area where there was a personal injury accident, and, all in all, there were no disruptions even to the extent which you show in your photo ... "all in all" ... there was one (1) non-conforming code issue, which was not even mentioned in the compliant at all, but which, if someone brought it up, would be cause for the plaintiff to win a judgement against the defendant (my client) - I recommended they settle and avoid any mention, discussion, or reference to that one non-compliant issue ... and to settle *before* the plaintiff hired an expert to assess the area and found the same issue I did. I am sure they are settling for far less than would be anticipated if the non-compliant issue were addressed as the cause of the trip and fall.

    Like you, I get paid either way, and if the client choose not to settle but to proceed with defending against the complaint, then I would have been able to keep billing my client, but that would not have been in the best interests of my client. Exposing the non-compliant issue right away and right up front provides the client to with the information they need to decide whether to proceed or not. Even though the non-compliant issue was not part of the complaint, it could have become a part of it at any time - why take the chance on it ever even being brought up?

    Provide the client with the knowledge that there is a potential problem in defending the case - that allows them to settle for less money.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Interesting thread. It's pretty wild that the standard max. height difference is only 1/4". So very many city sidewalks are more uneven than that. Don't people realize that sidewalks are subject to tree roots and the elements, and that they can shift over time - why can't they pick up their feet a little, or watch where they're going? I don't have a lot of sympathy for able-bodied people tripping over a 1/2" rise and suing because of it. That's my opinion, not that it matters.

    The foreseeability part of negligence that Raymond pointed out seems especially pertinent in such cases. The average homeowner is most likely unaware that their 3/8" rise is unacceptable and could lead to a lawsuit, so should/can they really be held responsible if an accident does happen? Whose job is it to make them aware of the standards? One of the things that makes insurance premiums high is due to liability claims like these; maybe they should make more effort to educate their policyholders.

    Interesting that for my insurance data purposes, a shift in height has to be at least 3" for it to be a concern. Presumably this is based on statistical evaluation of the likelihood of a claim resulting from a trip and fall - which begs the question why their standard is so different from the one set forth by the DOT, backed by their own study.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Interesting that for my insurance data purposes, a shift in height has to be at least 3" for it to be a concern.
    Kristi,

    The minimum height for a riser in a stair, and a stair is defined as a one or more risers - so a one-riser stair is still a stair, the minimum height for a riser is 4 inches.

    The previously discussed maximum rise of 1/4", and from 1/4" to 1/2" with a bevel (the bevel is required to be 2:1, i.e., the bevel for the second 1/4" in the 1/2" rise is 1/2" run for the 1/4" rise), and with a rise of greater than 1/2" required to be a ramp, is in the ADA ... that is where I was headed with my reference to being an accessible path.

    Not only do people with walking problems need to be addressed, but those of people using canes, walkers, and wheel chairs too. Those people can transverse a 1/4" "bump" fairly easily, but may trip (canes) or tip (walkers) or abruptly and unexpectedly stop (walkers and wheel chairs) at that 1/2" bump if it is not beveled properly.

    I'm guessing that many homeowners have themselves tripped on those 1/4" to 1/2" displaced walkways and patios around their homes ... they just get used to where those trip hazards are ... but guests and other visitors do not have that previous knowledge. Should they know about those trip hazards? They probably do. Should they be sued if they don't tell guests about those same trip hazards and a guest trips and falls? What say you if you fell?

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    It makes me mad that we all should accept government standards rules and mandates that are not reasonable.
    Without those standards we would be back in the Dark Ages.

    I have been involved in more than one case where the plaintiff apparently deliberately slipped and fell so that they could sue.
    Those people have nothing to do with government standards, they would trip and fall and sue anyway ... because the owner *should have known* of the hazard - standard or no standard.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post

    I have been involved in more than one case where the plaintiff apparently deliberately slipped and fell so that they could sue.

    Dexter
    .
    Advantageous If it can be shown the Plaintiff has a History of Such Litigation.
    .

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    What proof does the plaintiff have that this raised joint in the curb is the 'culprit'. For all anyone knows, the plaintiff misplaced their step elsewhere while making the movement and looked for some reason for causing the fall.

    A very similar incident happened to my wife a few weeks ago. She caught her heel while transitioning from road to sidewalk - even though this was at an engineered dip for wheeled access. We revisited the scene several times to ascertain a cause. The only 'likely' culprit was a crack where the asphalt roadway met the concrete gutter. Though that seemed extremely unlikely, it made her 'feel' better knowing/believing there was a cause for her fall rather than having tripped over her own feet - as it were. She suffered no serious injury - grazed palms, jarred shoulder - and mild case of stupidity.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dexter Varnell View Post
    I don't see what wealth redistribution has to do with being in the dark ages.
    Likewise ... what does wealth distribution have to do with rules and standards?

    Where to heck did this "wealth distribution" thing come into the discussion ... Oh, right, you pulled it in out of thin air.

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Jerry, what does minimum riser height have to do with anything?

    I know they're ADA standards. That's why I said "able bodied" in my post, that's who I was talking about, not the disabled. Besides, even the disabled have to be realistic - cities simply don't have the money to hire sidewalk inspectors to go around measuring every rise. Even wheelchair access dips on corners often have a lip to negotiate.

    I'm guessing that many homeowners have themselves tripped on those 1/4" to 1/2" displaced walkways and patios around their homes
    Considering how often I've successfully negotiated a 1/2" rise in unfamiliar territory, that's hard for me to understand.
    ... they just get used to where those trip hazards are ... but guests and other visitors do not have that previous knowledge. Should they know about those trip hazards? They probably do. Should they be sued if they don't tell guests about those same trip hazards and a guest trips and falls? What say you if you fell?
    I've tripped and fallen on uneven sidewalks. I've slipped on icy patches. I've never had any injuries beyond bruises and scrapes, but even if I did I can't imagine suing someone over a 1/2" rise.

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    Talking Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    If I trip over it, it's a trip hazard, and I'm very good about tripping over them.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    The standard that I usually reference is ASTM F1637, Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces. This standard is similar to ADA. I also ran across the attached sketch many years ago. It probably came from some municipality's web site, so it likely doesn't have the force of law, but it is informative.

    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Investigating Slips and Falls:
    The Complex Dynamics Behind Simple Accidents
    Fwiw
    Slip and fall article

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Dexter here ya go.

    Cheers,

    Attached Files Attached Files
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Dexter,

    I use this Create PDF Files Free — Download PrimoPDF Free and goes into the choose Printer File.
    .

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    I've always gone by the standard of anything higher than 3/8" is a trip hazard. I also note anything under 4" as a possible trip hazard.

    Here is a link with some good info. http://www.lawyersandjudges.com/clie...tionManual.pdf

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  54. #54
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Well, again chiming in on th sidewalk issue, we have to take into account the reason for codes and litigation. Something happened. Period. And as far as minimums, as an inspector, my thought is we are not only considering the Buyer that we are performing inspection for but also, the kids, aunts, grandmothers, 90 year old uncles that come to visit during the holidays, and so forth. Point being, if there is something that is questionable, I always note it in the report and defer to a qualified professional. That, along with my interpretation of the issue should be enough to inform the client what their options are, how much it will cost, and how long it will take. You'll be surprised how much it assists the buyer, and even sometimes the Seller.

    Just my two cents


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    Cool Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Suggestion,
    Check to see if the "accident" was caused by the use of a cell phone, Ipad-Pod,, texting or dialing.....
    In other words, was she distracted??? Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

    RES


  56. #56
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    The IRC and other Building Codes are concerned with "minimum Life Safety Standards" -- particularly in an instance where something happens inside (fire) and one is trying to get out. (That's why commercial and property-line fire separation elements are rated in time such as a "90-minute fire door" or a "two-hour firewall". In residential work, the idea is to get people out of the burning building in a timely manner. Thus, if they trip on the front porch or going down the steps, they are still at risk. But once they get out in the yard, they are generally no longer at risk (of fire). They may trip and fall on their face, but they're going to survive the fire. That's the primary concern of the Code.
    The 1/2" difference has arisen for a different reason -- it's mandated by the federal laws involving Accessibility Access. If a wheel-chair using door-to-door salesman can't get over the 1/2" lip, he might have a civil rights issue over lack of access.
    But all of that's the realm of lawyers (and building officials driven by lawyers). If it's a hazard, mention it or write it up! What have you got to lose? (Just the owner's lawyer suing you for being picky and causing the lose of the sale?)
    As an architect on a construction site inspection, standard case-law now says that if I mention three or four possible hazards (even to the construction workers), then I become liable for the other things that I neglected to mention! So I've been told, legally, to note that "it's none of my business, but if I were you, Mr. Builder, I'd put a cover over that hole, or a construction fence around that excavation -- but that's just friendly note -- not a professional observation."
    Hang the lawyers first!


  57. #57
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Wasn't that "Hang the lawyers first" from Shakespeare?



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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Jerry, what does minimum riser height have to do with anything?
    Kristi,

    Well ... for starters:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kristi Silber View Post
    Interesting that for my insurance data purposes, a shift in height has to be at least 3" for it to be a concern.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The minimum height for a riser in a stair, and a stair is defined as a one or more risers - so a one-riser stair is still a stair, the minimum height for a riser is 4 inches.
    "has to be at least 3" for it to be a concern"

    With a minimum riser height of 4" ... 4" should no longer be a concern.

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  59. #59
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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Funny Story. My church is the defendant in a similar slip and fall lawsuit. After the "accident" the local municipality removed and replaced the offending sidewalk as part of a sewer project thereby destroying the evidence.

    Kind of like the Hitchcock episode where the murderer feeds the murder weapon, a frozen leg of lamb subsequently cooked, to the investigating police.

    Speaking philosophically, there is personal accountability. If I don't look where I'm walking, including rough city sidewalks, and I fall and break a tooth...that's on me.

    Our society is overly litigious.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dom D'Agostino View Post
    .

    Unless you're an orthopedic specialist, MD, or perhaps a bio-mechanical engineer with experience in human movement/walking, how can you assert that the "plaintiff should have done this or that" or "walked this way, but not that way"?

    I think you should abort this mission.

    Dom.
    Most people are trained by an expert authority, their mother.
    "Stop and look both ways before you cross the street."
    "Pick up your feet, don't shuffle when you walk."
    "Look where you are going."

    Once upon a time most people were able to walk without falling down. Now we have sidewalk, paved roads and an expectation of perfection. Aaaaaaah the simpler times.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    How about IRC9999.9.9 Walking is inherently dangerous.Pick up your feet and watch where you are going, use common sense. Accept personal responsibility for picking up your own feet.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Thornburg View Post
    Pick up your feet and watch where you are going, use common sense. Accept personal responsibility for picking up your own feet.
    You and some others are trying to put shoe repair shops out of business? Pick up your feet, don't wear the soles out ...

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    I think Heels that are Three inches or greater should be pointed out as a Tripping hazard on a Real Estate agent... although I do not report it... because I'm Married and not supposed to notice those things.


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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Morrison View Post
    I think Heels that are Three inches or greater should be pointed out as a Tripping hazard on a Real Estate agent... although I do not report it... because I'm Married and not supposed to notice those things.
    "Heels that are Three inches or greater should be pointed"

    I believe that most heels which are three inches and greater in height are already pointed!

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    Default Re: Trip hazard on front walkway

    Heels 4" or greater must be black.

    "the relentless pursuit of perfection"

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