Every business must keep its customers safe when they spend time on their property, and every customer has the right to be safe on said property. However, accidents do happen, resulting in injuries on business property. These accidents can be minor or inconvenient to serious injuries.
If a business does not provide a safe environment resulting in your injury, the business may be legally responsible. If you are injured on business property, you may be entitled to compensation.
When Is a Business Responsible for Injury?
A majority of personal injury lawsuits are filed on the grounds of negligence
. You must show that the business was required to act with a duty of care, that the duty was breached, and your injury occurred as a result of the breach.
You have a right to feel relatively safe when stepping foot on the premises of a business. Each business should provide a reasonably safe environment for you and other customers to shop. If a business fails to meet that obligation, and you become injured, then you may be able to bring a claim for damages.
There are three elements of a personal injury lawsuit against a business for an injury: a duty of care owed by the business, a breach of the duty of care, and harm caused by the breach (aka damages).
Duty of Care
Any business that welcomes customers onto its property has a duty of care to provide for their safety. A duty of care does not mean that a business is liable for all injuries suffered by its customers, but it does mean that a business needs to act within a reasonableness standard. Some of these standards include:
- Implement and adhere to procedures to regularly inspect the property for defects that could cause injury or harm to customers
- Regularly cleaning the property to prevent accidents
- Alerting customers of potential hazards (i.e. warning signs near wet floors)
- Immediately repairing or cleaning up potential hazards to prevent injuries
Expert testimony may be necessary to determine if the proper standard was followed in your case.
Breach of the Duty of Care
When a business fails to fulfill its duty of care, it has “breached” the duty. The key to proving a breach is first proving the proper duty of care based on the circumstances.
For example, if you slip on a spilled product in a supermarket, the store may have breached a duty of care
Harm Caused by the Breach
- Failure to create a regular cleaning schedule to remove spills from the floor
- The cleaning schedule was not adhered to on the day of your injury
- An employee noticed the spill but failed to clean it due to being distracted by another task
To receive compensation, you must prove that the breach caused your injury. Harm can encompass many things including pain and suffering, cost of medical bills, and loss of earning capacity. It is insufficient to show that you suffered injury after a fall and attempt to leave it at that.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured?
If you’re injured on business or commercial property, take the following steps
- Seek medical attention immediately. Even if your injury is minor or no injury is evident, it’s important to document the incident in case you need medical care in the future. Some injuries don’t show up until later, and a minor injury may get worse over time.
- Collect evidence. Immediately after the accident and after you have called for medical assistance, make sure to document the incident scene. Take photos (or have a witness do so if you are unable to) of the unsafe conditions that lead to your injury. Assess the environment for signs of negligence.
- Gather information. Get the names and contact information of persons who may have witnessed your injury. Witnesses provide another perspective of what happened and can help back up your story to show that you aren’t liable for the accident that caused your injuries. If possible, also provide witnesses with your name and contact information.
- Document the incident. As soon as you are able, write down your recollection of the incident, including all the details you can remember in chronological order. Additionally, document any pain or injury-related issues following the incident – including the severity and location, and if it causes you to miss work or school.
- Save your medical records. Once you’ve received medical care, save all correspondence and documentation from your doctor and insurance company.
- Consult with an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine whether or not you have a case against the business where the injury occurred. Best to get a consultation as early on as possible.
Accidents happen, and when they do, you and your family will have questions about your rights and their impact on your life. The attorneys at Doran, Beam & Farrell, P.A.
understand your concerns and are ready to answer any question or address concerns that you may have about your claim. To schedule a FREE consultation, call or text us at 727-846-1000 or complete our online contact form