What Business Owners Should Know About Premises Liability

New York businesses should be aware of premises liability law. Premises liability refers to the responsibility that owners and managers have for certain injuries that occur on their property. First of all, owners have a duty of care to all entrants (in some cases, even to trespassers) to provide a reasonably safe environment, and if they fail to do this through inadequate policies and procedures, they may face a lawsuit.

Many premises liability lawsuits involve what are known as slip and fall accidents. Victims may slip on icy sidewalks or wet floors; trip on cracked pavement, on torn carpeting or in cluttered aisles; or fall down poorly-lit stairs with loose railings. Owners should know that it is their responsibility to address these dangerous conditions in a timely manner.

Besides slips and falls, victims may file a claim because an object fell on them (such as merchandise from a shelf) or because someone assaulted them (it could be an employee or another visitor). In this latter instance, the basis for the claim would likely be that the owner failed to provide adequate security, both inside and outside of the building, such as a parking lot. For their own part, victims must prove that they used the property with care.

Owners should adequately train their employees in recognizing hazards, fixing them, and warning patrons and other visitors about them if immediate repairs are not possible. When this does not happen, people who have been injured might want to meet with an attorney who has experience in representing plaintiffs in premises liability lawsuits.