Slipping and falling in a restaurant or other business establishment is one of the most common cases that lawyers run across, but because it can be very difficult to prove who was at fault, the cases usually are not worth a lot of money (though, there are exceptions).
Even though the case may not be worth a lot, if you run a small business you will still want to take the necessary steps at preventing slip and falls as often as possible.
Identify the Slippery Slope
Dangerous conditions that may cause a customer to slip (or trip) and fall include slippery flooring, a cluttered store, low display cases that are hard to see, slippery floors due to weather, trash on the floor, poor lighting and more. It can be difficult for customers to “fake” this type of injury, yet it does happen.
In order for the customer to win the case, though, they need to prove that the business owner was entirely at fault and that the accident could have been avoided.
So, if the customer claims they tripped because they weren’t looking where they were going, the customer would be at fault, not the business owner.
If, on the other hand, the customer claims that the floor was slippery, the customer may win the case.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to take all necessary precautions when it comes to the safety of your customers.
Looking at Protecting Yourself
The article “” goes into detail on a few cases where people “faked” a slip and fall accident.
One man from South Carolina, for example, poured some juice on the floor near a “Wet floor” sign that he moved slightly and intentionally slipped in the store.
Luckily, the store had a security camera that witnessed the intentional fall and the store was not out any money. It would be a good idea to install security cameras in your place of business to help prove your case if this were to happen to you.
Other than security cameras, there are other precautions you can take to prevent this type of fraudulent activity from happening in your place of business.
Use slip-resistant mats in heavy traffic areas or areas where something may spill, clean up all accidents and spills immediately after they happen (and make sure to put a “Wet floor” sign over the spill), keep your place clean and clutter-free at all times, make sure the carpet is properly sealed down and there are no cracks or tears and keep the lighting in your store bright and light.
If your store is dark and cluttered, it’s going to be hard to prove you were not at fault just given the circumstances.
Running a business is no easy feat.
Make sure you are protected and make it so your word is more valid than the customers that way you can prevent being sued from a fraudulent case, such as someone slipping and falling in your place of business.
About the Author: Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Charlotte, NC. She writes on a variety of topics including small businesses, social media and personal finance.