When you’re in a public place, like a retail store, and you suffer a slip and fall you might wonder how you determine liability. Is the store or business owner responsible for the injuries you sustained?

Businesses are legally obligated to keep their property as safe as reasonably possible because the very nature of a “business” invites the public onto their property: to shop, conduct transactions, etc. This is the difference between a business property and a personal property like a home. A commercial or business property has a heftier duty to care for their premises in comparison to a residential property owner.

In most instances, a store or other business is liable for injuries after a slip and fall on their property as long as it can be proven that the owner or management of the property did not take reasonable steps that would have ensured the customer’s safety.

Stores all over New York have a legal duty to safeguard the safety of their visitors/customers. This means that they need to keep the property clear of hazards like slippery floors or obstructions in the walkway. Business owners, the management they have in place on the premises, and employees are all legally obligated to clean up spills quickly and remove any potential hazards as soon as they become aware of the problem. Failing to fulfill this basic obligation is negligence and the party who is injured may sue for damages.

If a jar of salsa falls off a shelf at a local New York grocery store and an employee notices the spill, they must make reasonable efforts to clean up the spill as soon as they can because any spill poses a hazard for customers and other employees who may slip and fall. An example of a reasonable effort would be placing a hazard sign at the site of the spill to warn others of the slippery surface and leave the warning in place for as long as it takes for the area to dry. Making a “reasonable effort” simply means that the manager, owner or store employee who becomes aware of the hazardous situation does what a normal, prudent individual would do under the same circumstances to prevent an injury from occurring.

Another example of a reasonable effort is to train store employees on creating appropriate product displays that minimize the risk of products falling on the customers while they shop.

When a business doesn’t take reasonable precautions and an injury results, the company can be faced with a premises liability lawsuit for any injuries or damages that occur as a result of their negligence.

If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident on a store property, it’s possible that the property owner could be held liable if the establishment didn’t take the appropriate and reasonable steps to ensure the property was safe for visitors. Please get in touch with one of the experienced personal injury attorneys at Aronow Law PC so we can help you prove liability and receive the compensation you deserve.