When a customer or visitor experiences a slip-and-fall incident in a business, they could wind up suffering substantial injuries that prevent them from working and require expensive medical care. Excepting situations where the individual who got hurt was breaking the law or behaving in a willfully negligent or dangerous manner, the business where they got hurt will likely have some degree of premises liability stemming from the incident.
Premises liability insurance will typically pay claims related to injuries that occur in a business or commercial property, but sometimes the victims of these accidents must take a claim to court in order to secure adequate compensation. The validity of these claims often depends upon the actions or lack thereof taken by the business. There are several ways that a New York business could reduce its risk of a customer getting hurt and seeking financial compensation after a slip-and-fall injury.
Proper maintenance of walkways, parking lots, sidewalks and entrances
Accumulated snow and ice could drastically increase the likelihood of someone slipping and getting hurt in a parking lot. Businesses should take every reasonable step to eliminate accumulated precipitation on their property.
Both the manual removal of snow or ice and the application of chemical melting compounds can keep walkways clear and reduce the liability a business has.
Inner floors need to be clean, dry and safe
The potential for a slip-and-fall doesn’t end when someone enters a building. The floors within a property can be just as dangerous as the sidewalk or parking lot outside might be. Especially during times of precipitation or inclement weather, businesses need to make sure that they keep their floors dry and safe for customers.
Putting down absorbent or no-slip mats by entrances or any place where liquid accumulation is possible could reduce liability risks. Staff should know that keeping the floors clean and safe is a top priority, especially if there is an unexpected spill or leak. Whether a plumbing issue produces a puddle down an aisle in a store or spilled products like ball bearings or rice create a dangerous, unstable walking surface, you need to prioritize addressing detritus or moisture in areas where customers walk.
As a final caveat, business owners and professional service providers should also be very careful regarding the finish or wax applied to store floors, as over-application could result in dangerously slippery floors that eventually cause a slip and/or fall. In any of these scenarios, including unaddressed snow accumulation outside, a neglected spill inside or dangerously slippery floors with fresh wax, a customer could likely claim negligence contributed to the incident and therefore to their injuries.