The #1 Reason for Investing in Floor Mats: Litigation

Girl leaving a hospital through a revolving door – Denmark.

This is the time of the year when businesses and government offices tend to use floor mats at the entrances to their facilities. Rough winter weather creates hazardous conditions that dictate as such. But winter weather aside, there are plenty of other reasons to use floor mats year-round. Number one among them is the risk of litigation.

Floor mats are, first and foremost, safety devices. They can prevent slip and fall injuries associated with water, snow, ice, oil, etc. All it takes is a single accident to result in expensive litigation that could put a serious dent in a company’s cash flow. A case in point is observed in litigation now making its way through the courts in West Virginia.

Pain, Suffering, and Medical Expenses

According to the West Virginia Record, a patron visiting a Kanawha County department store slipped and fell due to water on the floor at the entrance of the store. Although the report doesn’t specify the patron’s injuries, it does say that she has sued the department store for “compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, court costs, and all other just relief.”

The plaintiff in this case is seeking a jury trial in hopes of achieving the highest award possible. In her suit, she alleges that there were no visible floor mats or warning signs anywhere near the department store’s entrance. She alleges that the department store and its management acted in a negligent way that directly resulted in her pain, suffering, and incurring of medical expenses.

Whether or not the plaintiff prevails depends on the evidence presented in the case. The outcome of her case will not be known until the legal process has fully run its course. What we do know is that floor mats may have prevented the accident to begin with.

A No-Slip Surface

The idea behind using floor mats to prevent slip and fall accidents is based on the principle of providing a no-slip surface for patrons to walk on. That’s why non-slip floor mats are often put in doorways, according to Alsco.

Alsco says that a good floor mat has a rubber backing that keeps it in place even when water and solvents are present. One designed to accommodate winter weather also has a fairly high nap to allow the capture of water as people come in from a rain or snow storm.

A few strategically placed floor mats could make a real difference in preventing slip and fall accidents. Any commercial or government property that receives visits from the general public should have mats at all entrances. In industrial environments where oil, grease and solvents are present, floor mats should also be used to prevent accidents among employees.

Buy or Rent Floor Mats

Alsco says that floor mats suitable for virtually any environment can either be bought or rented. Renting affords property owners several advantages, beginning with the fact that the rental provider handles cleaning and replacement.

Renting mats also doesn’t involve any upfront expenses as would be incurred by purchasing. And yes, rented mats can be customized with the company’s logo or some sort of welcome message. Floor mats are switched out on a regular basis by the rental provider, commensurate with the weather and other conditions.

If you own or manage a property accessible to the general public, you should be doing everything you can to prevent slip and fall accidents. This includes floor mats at all points of entry. Not taking this one simple step could open you up to litigation should someone slip or fall on your property.

Clarissa Cooke

Clarissa Cooke