When a Business can be Sued for Personal Injury
13th October 2014
Whatever the size of your business, personal injury will always be something to consider. Whether this is an actual pay-out due to an accident on your premises, or injuries sustained by an employee at work; or continual payments towards insurance: the financial implications of personal injury are always there.
When a business can be sued for personal injury: Duty of care
From the moment you invite people onto the premises of your business, or sell goods to consumers, you are liable for a number of things. As the owner, you have a duty of care to your customers which involves ensuring the premises is safe to enter. This could refer to the actual structure of the premises and also ensuring the interior is free from hazards such as spillages, trailing wires, and noxious substances. If we take the example of a shop, we can explore how a business may prevent accidents happening and therefore the possibility of having to pay compensation to any customers injured on the premises. The following can also be applied to numerous other business premises:
- Regularly check all areas open to the public for any necessary repairs or adjustments
- Keep areas clean, tidy and free from obstructions
- If a spillage occurs, ensure adequate signage is provided, warning customers and advising them to proceed with care
- Ensure the exterior of the shop is free from hazards such as broken steps or cracked paving stones – repair if necessary
- Place a mat at the entrance to shop so that in wet weather, patrons can wipe their feet, decreasing the chance of the shop floor being wet
There are many other ways in which a business must ensure its customers are safe, but the above list is a good starting point.
When a business can be sued for personal injury: Breach of duty of care
A business can be sued for personal injury of customers if it can be proven that the owner did not take all necessary steps to carry out their duty of care. If this duty of care is in fact breached, this is yet another avenue a victim can take when making a personal injury claim. For example, if a there is a spillage in a shop and a sign has not been put out to notify customers of its presence whilst an employee goes to retrieve a mop, this could be seen as a breach of care. Likewise if the spillage is not cleaned up due to an employee doing other things or forgetting about it completely, there will have been a breach.
Harm caused by breach of duty of care
In order for a business to be sued for personal injury, a final aspect needs to be considered and shown to be true: harm caused by the breach of duty of care. The harm can be physical, emotional, mental or physical, yet it must be proven that it was the breach of care that caused the harm. For example, there may have been a spillage, but if the customer actually tripped next to it because they were wearing heels which they found difficult to walk in, then the business is not responsible for any injuries sustained.
If you have been injured on a business premises and you want to find out if you can make a claim, call us on 08000 430 430 today.