It is a commonly played out nightmare for small business owners and victims alike: the casual slip and fall accident that leads to devastating and expensive legal consequences down the road. Personal injury cases that fit into the slip and fall category are potentially very difficult to deal with, so business owners are advised to be aware of the details of these occurrences before they even happen. By being proactive about educating yourself on the ins and outs of these accidents, you can be empowered to address slip and fall cases with ease, efficiency and caution should even the worst possible situations occur. Here are some things every small business owner should be aware of when it comes to slip and fall accidents.
What Counts as a Slip and Fall Accident?
In order to be legally classified as a slip and fall accident, the occurrence must necessarily fit some pre-existing qualifications. A slip and fall accident in which the small business owner or property owner is found at fault will typically be categorized as a premises liability claim, meaning that it meets the following criteria.
- The accident takes place on someone else’s property, in many cases the property legally belonging to the small business owner.
- There may be potentially hazardous or dangerous conditions involved.
- The owner of the business or the individual who is responsible for the condition that caused the slip and fall accident displayed negligence.
- The business owner or person responsible knew and was aware of the condition and either created it or neglected to repair it.
- The business owner or person responsible left the condition as it was for a length of time deemed inappropriate.
The above stipulations must be present in order for a slip and fall accident to be considered the legal liability of the premises owner. If a victim can prove these criteria are true, then it is likely that they have a slip and fall case that may be dealt with by remuneration or compensation of some kind, or with litigation.
What Scenarios Might Lead to this Type of Accident?
While many situations start off with dangerous circumstances or an improperly kept environment, plenty of slip and fall accidents take place in perfectly safe environs and may be a fluke or the fault of the person who falls. Here are some instances in which slip and fall accidents are prone to occur.
- Poor lighting or limited scope of sight
- Torn carpets, flooring that is not maintained, drops suddenly or otherwise changes form without warning
- Staircases, escalators and elevators that are considered hazardous
- Slippery, sticky, dirty or otherwise dangerous flooring that may cause uneven footing
- Rain, snow, ice, sleet, hail or other weather hazards
- Sidewalks or concrete flooring that are uneven or in disrepair
What Can I Do to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents?
The best way to prevent slip and fall accidents in which you are held responsible is utmost attention to detail and quick action. In order to avoid these hazardous conditions, it is important to take several precautions. As a small business owner, it is critical that you observe the following reasonable safety standards.
- Clean up any spills, leaks or messes as soon as they occur.
- Place warning signs or obstacles in areas that might be hazardous.
- Maintain all of your flooring surfaces regularly.
- Ensure you have all proper safety handles and railing and that all your moving stairway accessories are present and intact.
- Make sure your customer areas are well-lit and contain warning signage of any potential dangers.
Defending your business can grow quite complex as you consider who is the legal owner of the property and whether the premises owner was truly at fault for creating a dangerous circumstance. If you are dealing with an existent slip and fall accident claim and are being held legally responsible, you may wish to consult a business attorney to determine what your rights and responsibilities are.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.