Businesses that have their doors open to foot traffic have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe.   Actual or alleged unsafe property conditions that lead to an injury can lead to legal action.  This is the basis for business premises liability and worthy of a discussion for business owners.  There are many personal injury attorneys that make a living off of this legal requirement!  So it’s important that you know there are things you can do to prevent or reduce any actual or alleged negligence against your business.

First off, some industries are more exposed due to the amount of foot traffic at their place of business.  The more access the general public has to your business the more likely some sort of injury could happen.  Here are a few industries that especially need to keep their eyes open regarding business premises liability:

  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Office Complexes
  • Restaurants
  • Retail Shops
  • Supermarkets
  • Shopping Malls including strip malls

Public safety ordinance requires that businesses take certain precautions to keep the public out of harm’s way.  Businesses have a duty to maintain a reasonably safe premise for their protection.  Any negligence, or failure to take this proper care of safety opens up the business to a legal ramifications.  This can be both time consuming and financially costly.  Here are some common hazards we see that you need to take care of:

  • Liquid spill that was not cleaned up
  • Snow & Ice that was no removed
  • Slippery surfaces (ex. slick stair steps)
  • Unmarked hazards  (ex. unexpected drop or step)
  • Moving Equipment (ex. forklift)
  • Faulty equipment meant for public use (ex. shopping cart)
  • Anything that could disrupt a walking path (ex. shipping boxes left in the middle of the hallway)
  • Hand rails that are not maintained properly

Due to a wide range of injuries the public is prone to and because of the legal remedy available there are also large amounts of fraud in this area – billions of dollars worth!  Here is what

businesses can do to help themselves:

  • Have diligent observance & inspection of public areas
  • Give designated public safety responsibility and accountability to specific personnel
  • Make available accident reports that are accessible with trained staff to handle an incident
  • Consider a risk control inspection from your insurance carrier
  • Capture video footage through your alarm system provider

Do you have any questions?  Or would you like to speak with a trusted, local & independent business insurance agency.  Let us know how we can help.

Jeremy Hyde | Colligan & Company