When Would A Business Be Liable For The Harm Of A Customer?

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When you set up a business, you want your customers and visitors to enjoy their time there and, most importantly, you want them to be safe. However, the potential for lawsuits when customers are injured is always present and businesses reflect this issue when buying insurance and incurring other costs.

Business owners know they have an obligation to offer a reasonably safe setting but, as accidents and injuries do tend to happen even when they are least expected, the injured party may sue the business.

What elements must be present in a personal injury lawsuit against a business?

Basically, there are three elements that make up a typical personal injury claim:

  • There is a duty of care owed by the proprietor of the business to the customer
  • There must be a breach of this duty of care
  • Because of this breach, harm has been caused

For a lawsuit to be successful, the injured customer must prove the three points mentioned above.

What is duty of care and how can it be provided?

Duty of care refers to the fact that any business that opens its doors to its customers, allowing them to enter the business’ property, should act reasonably to provide for their safety. It is understandable and the courts understand this as well, that it is impossible to prevent all injuries. That is why a standard for reasonable care has been established. Depending on the context and the state where the injuries take place, the standard of care might require that businesses:

  • Have in place a process to inspect the property for any issues or defects that could cause harm to customers.
  • Maintain the area clean to prevent customers from slipping and falling.
  • Let customers know if the floor is wet by placing the appropriate signs marking the affected area.
  • On rainy days, a mat should be placed near the entrances to allow customers to dry their shoes before walking in and to prevent the accumulation of water in the store.
  • If the pavement by the entrance is crumbling or shows some cracks, it should be repaired right away.

What happens when the duty of care is breached?

Let’s say there is a spill and whoever is supposed to clean it up gets distracted and forgets to do it, causing a customer to slip and fall and suffer an injury. Or maybe fixing the crack in the sidewalk was put on hold and someone tripped and fell and injured themselves. These and many other examples are considered a breach of duty.

Once these injuries have happened, the customer can file a claim against the business. However, to win it, the customer must prove the breach caused them harm.  In the claim, the customer can include:

  • Their cost of medical bills
  • The loss of earning capacity due to being unable to return to work for some time or even permanently
  • The loss of their ability to enjoy life as they did before the injury
  • Pain and suffering

Are you looking to file a claim against a business for your injuries?

Don’t think of going it alone. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service that can put you in touch with a personal injury attorney. Give them a call today to get started.