In the past, property owners were immune to business lawsuits involving natural snow and ice. Property owners were only held responsible for failing to remove unnatural accumulation of snow and ice. Today, there is no legal distinction between natural and unnatural in this regard—all property owners owe a duty to all visitors to use reasonable care when maintaining their property in a safe condition considering all circumstances. General liability claims are the most common lawsuits that business owners face. The following are five tips on avoiding slip and fall lawsuits during the winter.
Keep the Walkways Dry and Clear of Slipping Hazards
A person may slip on a patch of ice or a spill on the floor due to their clumsiness. In some cases, these accidents end in a bit of bruising. However, what if a person sustains serious injuries at your premises due to a slip and fall accident? These preventable mishaps result in lawsuits. One way to avoid a lawsuit is by removing snow and spreading salt that has accumulated on your walkways during winter. You should also highlight wet floors and hard to see paths with clear signage. Organizing and storing wires, ropes and cables safely can also help prevent serious accidents.
Provide Sufficient Lighting
You should provide sufficient lighting on stairs, hallways, walkways, and steps. Proper lighting reduces the likelihood of people slipping and falling because of obstructions or items they could not see.
Train Employees on Safety Measures
Employees should be trained regularly on safety measures and issuing reports on hazardous conditions. With a properly trained workforce, you are never going to miss out on spillages, or patches of ice or snow on the floors or streets surrounding your premises.
Make Frequent Repairs
When you engage in regular maintenance of your premises, you are likely not to miss any hazardous conditions. Ensure you repair cracks and uneven surfaces. For areas that are subject to regular spillage or snow patches, it is better to have a cleanup crew after every few hours.
Documenting accidents is necessary for protecting yourself from exaggerated or false injury claims by patrons, customers, or employees who have sustained injuries on your property. The comprehensive account provided by incident reports allows your lawyer to prevent the case from going to trial.
Facing a lawsuit can be a troubling experience for any business or property owner. In most cases, the injuries sustained in a business owner’s premises can be avoided. Contact a lawyer at a firm like Bennett & Sharp PLLC sooner rather than later. The best strategy of avoiding slip and fall lawsuits during the winter is regular cleaning and maintenance, competent staff, and proper accountability.