Legal Guide

Premises liability: who is responsible?

It is expected that property owners will keep their properties in good condition, providing a relatively safe place for those who come into it. The point is to prevent any guests or visitors from suffering an injury while on the property in question. When dangerous conditions are present, people can get seriously injured and suffer consequences as minor as a bruise or as major as a traumatic brain injury.

Additionally, besides medical bills, whoever is injured in a slip and fall accident may be unable to return to work, have financial issues due to lack of income, and may experience intangible effects such as pain and suffering.

All Business Establishments Owe a Duty of Care to Visitors, Guests, and Customers

If you slip and fall when at a retail store, car dealership, restaurant, or any other establishment, you may blame yourself for not paying too much attention to where you were going. The question is, should the business owner or manager have been aware of this possible hazard and taken any action to correct it? In these cases, the law has imposed a duty of care on the owner of the business establishment, requiring them to make their premises safe for anybody who visits or stops by.

This means not only that the owner must regularly survey the property, but they must remain vigilant during the day in case the safe conditions are no longer so. Liquids might have been dumped on the floor, a leak might have sprung from the ceiling, objects might have been left in the middle of hallways, and any number of things might have happened to cause a hazard to anybody walking through the space. Once the owner sees this new situation or is made aware of it, actions should be taken to correct it. And, if immediate correction is not possible, appropriate signs should be placed in such a way as to alert anybody around of what is on the floor.

What should you do if you suffer an injury due to slipping and falling on someone’s property?

It has happened to everyone. You are casually walking around and, when you least expect it, you land on the floor. The first reaction is to get up, pretend nothing has happened, and continue on your way. You may want to pretend that nothing happened when the reality is that it did. And although, in some cases the injury might not be immediately apparent, you should make sure to have it checked by a doctor. You do not want to discover later on that some internal organ was damaged, and you did not have it treated appropriately or on time.

Also, before leaving the place where you slipped and fell, make sure to document what happened. If there was water on the floor, take a picture. If the place was dark because the lightbulbs were not working, take a picture. If anyone around saw what happened, ask them for their contact information and take down their testimony, they could prove to be valuable witnesses should you need to file a legal claim against the establishment where you were injured. If you are losing wages because your injuries prevent you from going to work, click here to learn how to document the accident before talking to a personal injury attorney.

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