Each year, over three million people suffer from preventable slip and fall injuries. The consequences of a slip and fall injury can be devastating. Many people incur unexpected costs, from healthcare to job loss, and such damages can lead to further complications, particularly for the elderly and disabled.
Most people don’t know that businesses have a responsibility to maintain the safety and integrity of their spaces. But what are those responsibilities and what happens if a business fails to meet these requirements?
This guide includes everything you need to know about legal liability in slip and fall injuries. Read on to find out what businesses need to have in place to prevent accidents and how you can seek compensation for a personal injury.
What Is a Slip and Fall Injury?
A slip and fall injury is any personal injury that a person suffers due to unsafe conditions on another person’s property. Common injuries may include:
- Broken bones
- Muscle strains, tears, or sprains
- Bruises, cuts, lacerations
- Internal or external bleeding
A fall can lead to physical pain and psychological damage even if a person does not have a visible personal injury. They may also have to pay for medical treatments for conditions that are a result of a slip and fall accident. As a result, businesses are responsible for implementing safety precautions and preventing slips and falls.
What Do Businesses Need to Do to Prevent Slip and Fall Injuries?
Businesses are legally obligated to maintain and service their establishments to ensure an adequate level of security. Additionally, business owners must repair or amend any existing dangerous situations. The following list includes everything a business must do to prevent slip and fall injuries.
The most necessary precaution a business must take is appropriately training employees to prevent and handle slip and fall accidents. Negligence can lead to serious consequences, so businesses must be aware of these guidelines. Businesses must teach employees to:
- Conduct regular inspections
- Assign proper signage to hazards
- Familiarize themselves with local laws and building codes
- Clean, sweep, and clean floors, walkways, and other surfaces
- Document and report hazards
An employee’s ignorance of hazard protocol does not justify evading responsibility. Businesses must properly train their employees to handle such issues swiftly to avoid slip and fall incidents and personal injury to those on the premises.
Conducting Frequent Inspections
Certain areas are more prone to slip and fall injuries, including areas open to the elements (such as walkways where rain or ice may fall), employee areas (such as behind the counter), and food service areas. Employees should frequently check these areas and document any changes or issues.
Employees must inspect for any cracks, uneven surfaces, wet floors, or additional hazards that could cause an accident. They must also report them to management. Failure to do so makes the business liable for any incidents that may occur.
Employees and business owners must also document any existing hazards and how they resolve them. Businesses are typically responsible for keeping logs or detailed accounts of safety issues and the precautions taken to address them.
Keeping Walkways and Surfaces Clean and Clear
Every establishment is responsible for keeping its walkways and surfaces clear of clutter. In grocery stores, for example, employees must clear floors when stocking shelves. Restaurants must remove discarded items, broken glasses, and spills from their floors.
Every business must have a procedure to address clutter and unexpected obstructions to avoid personal injury lawsuits from customers.
Maintaining Parking Lots, Sidewalks, and Outdoor Areas
A business’s responsibility doesn’t end at the door. Every establishment is responsible for maintaining any other surfaces, sidewalks, and paved areas on the property. Employees must clear any snow or ice from outdoor areas, remove clutter or garbage, and maintain paved roads and lots.
Address Hazards Immediately
Businesses have a responsibility to notice and address hazards. While some establishments may attempt to claim ignorance of hazards, this typically does not exclude them from having to compensate victims.
Commercial entities must actively inspect for hazards and address them immediately. For example, a spill requires an immediate clean-up so that the area remains safe.
Clear Snow, Ice, and Spills
Businesses are responsible for clearing any snow or ice in front of their establishments. Many business owners add salt or sand to outdoor surfaces before or after heavy snowfall. Taking the proper precautions can protect patrons from harm and shield the business from expensive lawsuits.
If a business does not address a snow or ice issue, a lawyer may find them responsible for any accidents resulting from this negligence.
Follow Local Laws, Codes, and Regulations
Every state has different legal codes, and every building has regulations. Commercial establishments must adhere to local codes and laws. Property owners also have to comply with these regulations, and negligence can result in a lawsuit. Most building codes specify that businesses must address the following:
- Insufficient lighting
- Missing non-slip mats or signage for slippery surfaces
- Uneven curbs
- Broken or loose steps
- Broken or missing guardrails and handrails
- Debris, clutter, or garbage inside or outside the business
How to Claim Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury
According to most state laws, a person can claim compensation for a slip and fall injury if they can prove that the business knew about the dangerous condition. To do so, the injured party must provide evidence to show that:
- The dangerous condition existed for long enough that the business should have known about it
- The situation occurred regularly and was, therefore, foreseeable
An expert lawyer can help you gather and provide such evidence, ensuring a swift and favorable outcome to a slip-and-fall case.
Turn to CJB Law for Your Slip and Fall Case
Slip and falls can happen when we least expect it, and having an experienced legal team to support you is key. You deserve compensation for any personal injury and our team can help you receive your benefits. Contact CJB Law today if you’ve been in an accident on a commercial property.