Protecting Your Business From Premises Liability Lawsuits
Premises liability can become a significant issue for business owners if someone gets injured on their premises and files a lawsuit to get six- to seven-digit compensation. Fortunately, there are several things business owners and managers can do to keep costly premises liability lawsuits at bay without spending a fortune.
What Is A Premises Liability Lawsuit?
A premises liability lawsuit is a subtype of personal injury lawsuit filed when somebody was injured on another person’s property due to a hazardous condition or property flaw the other person knew about but did nothing to remove the unsafe condition and prevent accidents from happening.
In a premises liability case, the injured person must prove that there was some type of negligence of the property owner, which led to an accident. However, if a customer is injured on your business premises, that doesn’t mean that the customer automatically has grounds for a lawsuit.
Under the law, business owners and property managers are required to keep business premises reasonably safe for visitors. “Reasonably safe” means that the property owner or manager knew or should have known about the unsafe condition but failed to address it.
The business owner’s legal obligation to know about the hazards on the business premises should be “reasonable.”
For instance, the property owner or property manager should have known about an obvious flaw in a highly trafficked elevator, such as the doors slamming shut too fast. So, if a visitor gets hurt, the visitor can sue the business and might be compensated for his or her injuries. The property owner, on the other hand, is not legally required to know about an internal flaw of the elevator, something only a mechanic would know if there has been regular maintenance. Forcing the property owner to do otherwise would be unreasonable.
Common Premises Liability Cases Affecting Businesses
There are several scenarios businesses should be wary of because they might end up being sued into oblivion over an accident that injured someone on their premises. The most common premises liability scenarios include:
· Slip and fall accidents
· Poor security of the premises
· Children freely roaming on business property
· Toxic fumes; chemical exposure
· Hazardous conditions on business property, such as cracks in the pavement.
Fires, dog bites, ice accidents, flooding, and defective elevators and escalators are also risk factors, but they are not as common as the ones listed above.
Slips and falls can be caused by slippery floors, hidden wires, hazardous door mats and rugs, broken steps, sidewalks, floors, stairs, and staircases. Also, poor security of the premises may lead to assault, robberies, and even murders. A building owner or manager needs to hire security guards, ensure locks are working correctly, and CCTV cameras are installed to ensure that tenants are safe.
How To Shield Your Business From Lawsuits
The most surefire way to avoid premises liability claims from your customers is to make sure that there is no hazardous condition on your premises to cause an accident in which someone might get hurt at all. As a business owner or manager, you have the legal but reasonable obligation to keep visitors safe while on your properties.
In some states, not all visitors get legal protection under premises liability laws. For instance, business owners and managers may not have any duty of care for trespassers under state laws.
The best way to prevent unsafe conditions from turning your premises into a minefield is to perform regular checks and maintenance. For instance, if in your line of work, slip and falls are very frequent, perform regular checks to make sure that floors aren’t oily or wet so that no customer might slip and fall and injure themselves.
If you own a restaurant or grocery store where slips, trips, and falls are a real issue, you need to instruct your employees to check whether the floor or stairs are not slippery. If they do it every 10 to 20 minutes and a customer meanwhile fell and broke their leg due to a spill, it is highly unlikely for them to win a personal injury lawsuit against you because your duty of care had been reasonable.
Premises Lawsuit Conclusion
A premises liability claim is a serious claim that could get you out of business if it manages to get to court. That is why business owners and managers are legally required to keep visitors safe while they are on business premises by performing regular checks and common-sense maintenance work.
Suppose a business owner has breached their duty of care towards their customers. In that case, an injured person due to the business owner’s negligence can sue for compensation and actually win with help from a seasoned personal injury lawyer . However, if the judge decides that the plaintiffs’ demands when it comes to the defendant’s duty of care have been unreasonable, the case will likely be dismissed based on the laws of the state the accident occurred in.