Slip and fall claims: background for business owners
Small business owners in Florida, as in every other state, have a “duty of care” to everyone who enters their property, including customers and employees. To maintain a safe environment for entrants, owners must conduct routine inspections, make repairs where necessary and give sufficient warning against hazards if they cannot be repaired.
A breach of this duty of care can result in entrants being injured in slip, trip and fall incidents. For example, people may slip on a recently mopped floor if there are no warning signs, and others may trip on boxes and debris. Cracks and ice on the sidewalks also pose a hazard. Loose railings on stairs are all too common, but if they became loose only recently and the owner didn’t know about it, he or she may not be held liable.
Facing a claim can be costly for small business owners. Even if the case is dropped, the owners have to pay legal costs to defend themselves and their brand, and if the claim is a valid one, they will be forced to reimburse the victim for medical expenses, lost wages and whatever else is applicable. Improving business safety leads to maintenance costs and employee training costs, and premises liability insurance itself can cost small business owners $500 or more annually.
In the end, there is no such thing as total immunity. Business owners can do everything in their power and still face premises liability claims. Victims, for their part, may wish to consult with a lawyer who deals in personal injury law to assess the validity of their claim. If hired, the lawyer might bring in experts to gather proof against the business owner, such as the incident report and any surveillance camera footage. The lawyer may then be able to negotiate for a settlement.