Slip-and-fall accidents happen to people far too often. It is sometimes a reality that business owners don’t take their responsibilities seriously, failing to maintain the property and causing, through their negligence, another person to get hurt.
Slip-and-fall accidents are particularly common in the winter, but proving liability then can be more difficult. For instance, if a customer walks into a store with wet shoes, the floor may become slick. The next person who comes in might slip and fall. Should people know that the floors may be slick? Yes, they should. Is the business liable for failing to prevent those falls? Usually.
What should businesses do to prevent slip-and-fall accidents?
In a situation like the one mentioned above, it’s important for business owners or employees to put out a warning that the floors could be slick. This reminds those entering the premises to be cautious.
Additionally, many businesses use welcome mats or rugs to help absorb water from people’s shoes. This small change makes it possible to prevent other flooring from becoming slick, which stops people from falling.
Are there times when slip-and-fall accidents aren’t a store owner’s responsibility?
Sometimes. For example, if you are walking in the store and trip over your own shoes or feet, then you can’t blame the business for your fall. Similarly, if you drop an item, spill it and then slip on it, the business will likely not want to be held liable for the behaviors leading up to the accident or the injuries you suffer.
In court, judges want to see that a business is being negligent in order to award you what you’re asking for. If you can show that the business owner was negligent in some way, then you’ll have a better chance of winning your case. Here’s a good example.
If business owner knows that the front area of the store is slick and saw someone almost fall, they should quickly put up a “wet floor” sign and take steps to improve friction and reduce the slickness in the area.
If they ignore the issue and believe that other people should just be more careful, then a person who slips, falls and gets hurt would have a good chance of winning a case. Likelihood of success is increased especially if witnesses can testify that the store owner knew about the issue and chose to do nothing to prevent additional falls from taking place in the front corridor.