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When is a business owner liable for a slip-and-fall accident?

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2021 | Personal Injury

Slip-and-fall accidents are a common cause of preventable injury in Connecticut retail establishments. These accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, such as uneven surfaces, cracks in the pavement, or wet floors.

In some cases, slip-and-fall accidents only result in minor injuries. However, these accidents can be far more serious if they involve a hard floor or an elderly victim. Some slip-and-fall accidents can lead to serious injuries like broken bones and head trauma.

Who is liable for the accident?

When a slip-and-fall accident happens in a retail establishment, the business owner could be liable for the injuries. Business owners have a legal duty to provide a certain level of safety to people who enter their premises. This means that known hazards should be eliminated or mitigated as soon as possible.

If a business owner becomes aware of a hazard like a spill on the floor, the business owner is responsible for eliminating that hazard in a timely manner. When they fail to do that and a customer is injured, the business owner is liable for the accident. However, the business owner would not be liable if they weren’t aware of the hazard before someone was injured.

Was the business informed of a hazard?

Sometimes, business owners will argue that they are not liable for an accident because they were never informed of a specific hazard. This argument can work in some premises liability claims but not all.

If there is a hazard at an establishment that the business owner should have been aware of, the business owner may still be liable for accidents. For example, a business owner who failed to notice a spill for hours could be liable for a slip-and-fall accident. An injured victim, in this case, might argue that a reasonable business owner would have sent employees to check the aisles more frequently.

Guests must be warned about hazards

There are times when a hazard at a business cannot be immediately eliminated, such as during ongoing cleanup or renovation. In times like this, a business owner should make sure to fence off the hazardous area and create warning signage that is clear to customers. When a business fails to either eliminate a hazard or warn customers about a known hazard, they might be sued for damages.

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