A wet floor, a crowded shopping aisle, an icy sidewalk—all pose a potential danger of accidents for consumers. While there may be some inherent risks in entering someone’s business, some of these risks are overwhelmingly likely to cause an accident—and if they do, it is up to the victim to take action against the person responsible. But how can you tell when a business is legally responsible for causing an injury…and, more importantly, how can you prove it?
In most cases, businesses can be held liable for an injury on their property if a victim can demonstrate negligence on the business’s behalf. This is done by first establishing that the business is responsible for providing a safe environment, proving that the environment was not reasonably safe, and finally establishing that the injury was caused by that lack of care. Here are a few examples of each of these factors:
- Duty of care. As part of providing for its customers, a business must take some responsibility for its customers’ safety while they are on the business’s property. For instance, the business must have adequate lighting and clear hallways to prevent tripping accidents, and should warn customers of wet floors with proper signage. In addition, the business should have a plan in place to regularly inspect the premises for potential problems that could cause accidents.
- Breach of care. As the potential for accidents to happen on a business’s property is nearly limitless, you must also be able to show how the business manager or owner was directly liable for causing the accident. In many cases, this is done by establishing that the business owner knew about the potential danger, but failed to fix the problem. If an employee was told by a manager to place a wet floor sign at the entrance on a rainy day, but failed to do so before an accident occurred, the store may be held liable. Generally speaking, the longer the business owner was aware of the problem, the more likely he will be found to have breached his duty of care.
- Cause of harm. Unfortunately, it is not enough to show proof of an injury; you must also be able to prove a direct causation between the breach of care and your suffering. If you broke your ankle because you tripped on a mop left on the sales floor, the owner is clearly liable for leaving cleaning products in customer areas. However, if you tripped in a parking lot because your shoes became untied, you will likely not be awarded damages even if you are seriously injured, because the owner is not responsible for making sure your shoes are tied.
We Can Help You Gather the Proof You Need to Establish Breach of Care
Clear and consistent proof is the most effective tool in your injury case. If you need help paying medical bills or are unable to work after an accident on business premises, the attorneys at Wayne Wright can investigate your case and explain your legal options at no cost to you. Click the contact link on this page to find out how we can help.