As the proprietor of a store, restaurant or other business accessible to the public, you must maintain a safe property.
Accidents can happen no matter how careful you are, but certain precautions can help you avoid a costly settlement if an injury occurs.
Routine maintenance can prevent accidents. When you notice safety hazards, such as loose rugs, poor lighting, uneven walkways and slippery floors, repair them promptly.
Because New York follows a pure comparative negligence rule, a customer who sustains an injury at your business may be able to collect damages even if he or she is partly at fault. It is well worth the time and money to address problems and prevent injuries before they occur.
If you can not immediately address a safety hazard, post prominent signs to warn customers of the danger. Likewise, you should clearly mark any areas that are off-limits to the public. A lawsuit against you might be less successful if you can prove that the injured party disregarded obvious warnings.
If your property contains hazards that might pique a child’s interest, you might have what New York law calls an “attractive nuisance.” Examples include:
- Fountains and manmade ponds
- Pools and hot tubs
- Playground equipment
- Old vehicles, farm equipment and appliances
Should a child fall and get hurt on your property, you might face a lawsuit despite having signs to warn of the danger. Consider installing barriers or locks to keep curious children away from potential dangers.
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your facility is safe for the public. Taking appropriate precautions can prevent injuries and lawsuits.