Slip and fall accidents are more common than most people realize. Sometimes, when these mishaps occur in public places like a store or a restaurant, people automatically assume that the owner or manager of the business bears responsibility.
However, this is not always the case. Locations such as stores and restaurants do assume a portion of responsibility for ensuring the safety of their customers while they are on the premises, but the law only cautions them to act reasonably. Members of the public likewise bear the expectation of behaving reasonably when they are on someone else’s property.
Business owner responsibilities to customers
Business owners are expected to meet certain duties on their property. This includes inspecting the property for hazards and repairing any hazards of which they are aware. Additionally, the owner is required to warn customers with regard to any dangerous conditions that have not yet been repaired.
A business owner who fails to meet these expectations by not cleaning up a spilled liquid or warning people about a defective staircase may be liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
Proving that a business is liable for a customer’s injuries
It is not easy to determine precisely who is at fault in a slip and fall accident. If such a case came to trial, the judge would instruct the jury to weigh whether or not certain conditions existed at the time of the accident. For instance, a condition that created an unreasonable risk of harm had to exist, and it is essential that an employee or owner knew of or should have discovered the condition. If the business failed to warn customers of the condition and did not take steps to correct the problem, then they may be found liable in a personal injury claim.