As the owner of a small business, you have many things on your mind. You want it to be successful, you need to hire the right team of people, you want to have your merchandise displayed in the most attractive way, just to name a few.
However, something else that you may have to worry about is the possibility of someone slipping and falling within your premises.
What is a slip and fall accident?
When someone slips, falls, and is injured in someone else’s property, it is described as a slip and fall. These accidents fall under premises liability claims and whoever manages or owns the property where they happen may be held legally responsible for the injuries.
Why do slip and falls happen?
These accidents are usually related to unsafe conditions on the floor. These may range from torn carpeting or a wet floor to poor lighting or unsafe stairs. But they also happen when there is merchandise around that has not been put away, when there are cables and wires on the floor or when there is even a small change in flooring. Outside your door, people may slip when there’s water because of recent rains.
What can a small business owner do?
The most important thing you can do is have safety in mind all the time. You need to make it a habit to walk around your premises and make sure the floors are clear to walk on safely. Instill in your staff the same principle. And if you are made aware of a problem, don’t ignore it but take care of it right away.
There are instances where immediate correction might not be possible such as when electricians are in the middle of an installation or when the floor has just been mopped and is still wet. In those cases, place warning signs in noticeable colors around the affected area.
What would a person slipping and falling in your property need to prove?
The most important point they would have to prove is that there was negligence on your part. This means that they would have to show that you were aware of the unsafe situation and took no action to correct it. They must prove that this dangerous condition had been present long enough for someone to have discovered it and done something to fix it.
In other cases, the slip and fall might have happened due to a violation of a building code, such as when no railings are installed in staircases.
If someone simply slips and falls within your property because they were not paying attention to where they were going, even if they are injured, you would not be held responsible for their injuries.
When are small business owners not liable for injuries due to a slip and fall?
If you, as a business owner, have taken all suitable actions to prevent and avoid any accident from taking place in your premises, you will not be found negligent should you face a personal injury claim. If all reasonable care has been implemented and a customer happens to fall, they will not have a case against you.
If you are facing a slip and fall lawsuit and need legal advice, consult with experienced slip and fall lawyers now.