What Are Businesses’ Liability For Personal Injuries?
Most states have laws that hold business owners to a relatively high standard of care in terms of maintaining a safe environment. Generally, business owners have an obligation to keep property in a reasonably safe condition to avoid injuries to customers or other individuals on property.
Duties include regular inspections of the property to ensure that everything is in working order and in safe condition. Therefore, business owners can’t defend against a potential lawsuit by arguing that no one employed by the business was aware of the hazard that caused the injury. If regular inspections occurred, the hazard would have been noted and repaired. That is why business owners are often found liable for personal injuries on property.
I’m sure everyone is familiar with those yellow caution “Slippery When Wet” signs often spotted in places of business – even if the floor was mopped an hour ago. That is because business owner’s duty of care often includes preventing slip-and-fall injuries on property. Business owners often have matting near the entrance and exit doors, however when a famous Florida thunderstorm comes through, often there is so much rain that people come in soaking wet. Because business owners can’t possibly cover their entire properties with anti-slip devices, you’ll see those yellow signs pop up quickly from business owners trying to escape liability should someone lose their footing. Placing a sign near the wet area may be sufficient to free the business of liability in the event of a slip and fall injury.
In most cases, business owners cannot be held responsible for the acts of third parties on their property. Should someone assault another person while on the business owner’s property, the injured individual will not usually be able to sue the business for the injuries. However, if the actions of the third party were foreseeable and therefore preventable, the business owner might have a responsibility to prevent such actions. For example, if a business owner’s customers are regularly being assaulted and robbed due to low lighting and lack of security, a victim of such a crime may be able to sue the business owner for the resulting injuries.