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Slip and fall claims: What small business owners should know

Szilagyi & Daly
Hartford, Connecticut

An employee, customer or other guest has slipped and fallen on your property in Connecticut, and you’re wondering if that person can sue you. First of all, you’ll want to know that such incidents fall under what’s called premises liability law. This law requires property owners to take reasonable steps to protect all lawful entrants from foreseeable harm.

Business owner obligations for property they possess

Business owners are expected to eliminate dangerous conditions on their properties within a reasonable period of time. These conditions can include torn carpeting, loose cables and other tripping hazards, poorly lit stairwells, loose railings and wet floors. Property owners or business tenants can also be responsible for conditions outside the building and must properly address potholes, cracks and ice on sidewalks and in parking lots.

Proving who is at fault for a slip-and-fall claim

A victim of a slip-and-fall accident must prove that:

  • A dangerous condition led to the injury
  • The owner was in possession and control of the premises and negligent in not addressing the condition
  • The victim used the property in a safe manner and had not anticipated the condition
  • The owner knew or should have known of the hazardous condition for a certain period of time

Those injured on a business property where the space is being rented out may hold both the owner and the tenant (possessor) responsible. The possessor may even be the property management company in some cases. Building code violations, such as the lack of a handrail in a stairwell, may be used as proof of negligence.

Business owners who are facing allegations regarding slips, trips or falls should seek legal guidance regarding their rights and responsibilities before talking to the alleged victims’ lawyers.

 


The general information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances.

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