How to Protect Your Business in New York | Who is Liable?

How to Protect Your Business in New York | Who is Liable?

Business owners have a legal obligation to take care of their grounds. Failure to do so can cause the property to become hazardous. This can lead to accidents that have the potential to cause serious, life-changing injuries to the people who visit the property. When this happens, the injured party can pursue legal action against the business owner under premises liability law. Continue reading below to learn more.

What are the Three Legal Classes of Visitors?

When discussing premises liability law, there are three ways a visitor can be classified. This includes:

  • Invitee: A person who comes onto a property as an invitation. This does not have to be in writing. In terms of a business, the invitation is to transact business for the mutual benefit of both parties. 
  • Licensee: A guest for personal reasons, not relating to business or commercial. For example, a person invited to a house for dinner can be a licensee. Business visitors are almost always invitees, not licensees.
  • Trespasser: A person who comes onto a property without an invitation and is usually violating trespassing laws. This may be if a customer refuses to leave when they are asked or they are a burglar. Business owners are not required to keep trespassers safe but cannot purposely cause harm to them. 

What are Common Causes of Injury Claims?

There are many ways that a personal injury accident can happen on a business’ property. Common causes can include:

  • Slippery surfaces: Slip and fall accidents can be caused by rain, snow, ice, spills, wet or waxed floors, etc.
  • Faulty stairs and escalators: Stairwell, elevator, and escalator accidents can happen due to broken railings, slippery steps, and mechanical failures.
  • Falling merchandise: When an object falls off a shelf, it can injure both employees and customers.
  • Physical obstacles: This can include poorly placed electrical cords, protruding furniture, floor mats or door moldings, door stops, fallen merchandise, etc.
  • Inadequate lighting: Curbs, physical obstructions, steps, potholes, etc. may not be seen without proper lighting can cause accidents.
  • Parking lots: Concrete car stops, potholes, misdirected cars, uneven pavement, poor signage, construction, criminal activity, etc. can cause accidents.
  • Sidewalks: Broken, cracked, or uneven sidewalks can cause accidents. While business owners are not responsible for government-controlled sidewalks, they can be for sidewalks adjacent to their business. 
  • Food poisoning: Customers can end up sick as a result of poor food handling, poor storage, or the transmission of disease from employees at food-service locations. 

If someone has become injured on your property, contact our firm right away.

Contact our Firm

A personal injury accident can have a great impact on your life and your bank account. At Katter Law Firm, we believe that everyone should be held liable for his or her own negligence; you should not have to bear the burden of someone else’s mistakes. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call us today!

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