Premises liability is the financial and legal risk that a homeowner or business manager incurs when they let people onto their property. Both individual homeowners and those who run their own businesses will typically have to carry an insurance policy that protects them from liability in situations where someone gets hurt on their property.
Slip-and-fall claims are arguably the most common and well-known form of premises liability. A slip-and-fall incident occurs when someone coming into a business or walking through a facility suddenly loses their footing and falls. Slip-and-fall incidents can result in property damage, as a mobile phone or other valuable personal electronic devices can easily wind up broken.
Additionally, people can suffer substantial injuries in a slip-and-fall, ranging from broken bones and soft tissue injuries when they try to stop the fall to head injuries if they can’t catch themselves. Thankfully, there are a few ways for a business to limit its premises liability and defend against claims relating to someone slipping.
Owners or managers need to inspect for risk factors daily
It only takes one bad rainstorm to it turn that mildly discolored area on your ceiling into an actual leak that produces a puddle. Part of opening and closing the facilities every day should involve management moving through the space to inspect it for potential risks and other issues.
That way, staff members can quickly respond to problems such as malfunctioning equipment that could cause condensation and lead to a preventable injury.
Staff must prioritize maintaining safe and clean facilities
People working in retail environments often have more work than they have time to do. However, no matter how busy a shift becomes, it should never be acceptable for employees to put off basic cleaning and maintenance. Responding immediately to reports of a spill in one aisle can drastically reduce the risk of someone getting hurt before you have a chance to clean it up.
Realistically, it isn’t possible to address every spill and puddle as soon as it occurs. Staff may have to go to the backroom to get a mop. For that reason, it’s important to have someone remain nearby to warn visitors of the risk or to have signage available that you can place out in a location where there will temporarily be increased risk for a slip-and-fall. That includes locations where something gets spilled, as well as any area where staff members mop the floor.
Generally speaking, a victim has to show that negligence or inadequate maintenance played a role in the situation that led to their injury. The more proactive business is with warning visitors of risks and addressing them as soon as possible, the easier it will be to defend against premises liability claims.