Why Every Business Owner Should Understand Premises Liability
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises Liability means that if you own property you can be held accountable for certain legal issues that occur. This comes into play when things go wrong at work. For example, if someone slips and breaks their neck then they can sue the owner of the property. They may even have a strong case if there were mitigating circumstances. For instance, the floor was wet, and there were no signs to warn of this.
What Does It Mean For Me As A Business Owner?
The main issue a business owner needs to be concerned with is a personal injury claim. This is what, as a business owner you are most likely to be hit with. If someone is climbing a ladder and falls off or trips over a computer wire, they can sue you, personally, for damages. You will have seen an ad on TV where a lawyer claims he will get money off big business owners if someone has been injured at work. You will be the business owner who he gets money off if you do not understand Premises Liability.
What If You Do Not Own The Building?
Unfortunately, if you do not own the building and are only renting you will still be held accountable. The landowner may take a little of the blame, but the majority will fall squarely on your shoulders. In fact, some landlords will make tenants sign away their rights to push health and safety upkeep on to them. Instead, the business owner handles ensuring their rented property is safe.
What Else Am I Liable For?
A few examples of what else you could be held accountable for are if someone assaults another person on your premises. Or if something dangerous leaks from your premise into a public area and causes damage. Perhaps the most disturbing example is that the law will even protect trespassers on your property.
How Can I Protect Myself?
Well, you can start by reading through your tenant contract carefully if you rent your property. Find out if there is any clause that puts all responsibility for safety onto you. If there is you, may want to think about speaking to a solicitor or attorney for advice. Lawyers from a firm that specializes in Premises Liability will be able to help you. The O’Connell Law Firm is an example of such a firm.
For now though, keep health and safety levels to a maximum and train your employees to do the same. An example would be not to leave loose wires lying over the floor. Ensure the wires are tied and underneath the desk or secured to the wall. You also need to ensure that any spills are cleaned up straight away and that while the floor is wet, signs are put up. These are basic suggestions to help you get the idea of what we are talking about. Remember, if you know, a place is dangerous and do nothing to correct it then you can be held responsible. You may even be held accountable if you did not know and should have been aware.
We hope this article has helped you understand Premises Liability and why it is important.