Liability after a slip and fall can be a tricky subject, and much depends on the specific details of a particular situation. In general, however, liability comes down to whether or not you took reasonable action to make sure others around you or in a building you own or manage are safe. There is some room for interpretation about what constitutes “reasonable” behavior, but mostly it centers on doing what most other people would do in a situation.
During the winter holiday season in New York, there are a lot of opportunities for injuries, especially from slip and fall accidents. As long as you act reasonably to avoid these situations, then you not only can help keep other people safe, but also help protect yourself from potential lawsuits and costly situations. Consider both the inside and outside of your store, and make sure the property is well maintained in order for others to be safe while shopping.
Outside, you should shovel the sidewalks around your store, especially stairs and areas that are in shadow for much of the day. It is also a good idea to invest in plenty of salt and use it generously to make sure ice does not form, or that any ice that does form is quickly melted. If someone still manages to slip and fall, but you can show that your sidewalks were well shoveled and salted, then it can demonstrate that you took the proper precautions and acted reasonably to keep shoppers safe.
Inside your store, make sure the entryway is prepared for melted snow from people’s shoes and boots. You should have mats if your entry is tiled, so that water can be absorbed and people have traction as they enter, rather than slipping on the tile. It is also a good idea to monitor the entryway and have an employee mop up excess water throughout the day to keep others safe. Failing to take such reasonable precautions can demonstrate negligence on your part if someone is injured and chooses to bring a civil suit against you.
If you or someone you know has been injured while shopping, then it could mean the store owner or manager did not follow these kinds of simple steps to keep you safe. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP today at (212) 986-7353. Tell us about your situation and we can discuss your options and help you understand whether your injury may be due to someone else’s negligence.