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Slip and fall cases can be tricky to prove in court

One of the assumed risks of being a small business owner is the potential liability for injuries suffered by customers, vendors or others in "slip and fall" accidents on the company's premises.

Property or business owners who allow dangerous conditions like wet floors, dim lighting, ripped carpets or uneven flooring to exist on the premises without repairing the hazards open themselves up to claims of injuries. Some cases are more egregious than others, as a leaking cooler in a store that allows liquid to pool on the floor is a chronic problem, whereas a dropped jar of pickles is a temporary condition that may temporarily go unnoticed by the owner or manager.

To prevail in a slip and fall case, the injured person must be able to prove that the premises or business owner was legally responsible for the injuries and had not acted responsibly to repair or otherwise remedy the dangerous conditions that caused the slip and fall. The injured person must also not have been able to anticipate that such dangers could have been present in those conditions.

It can get fairly complicated for a lay person who does not have a great deal of familiarity with the law to lay out all aspects of a slip and fall case and be able to prove that negligence and liability existed on the part of a business owner. It is usually better to seek legal advice if the case does not appear headed for a quick, satisfactory settlement, as taking the case to court against corporate counsel puts most individuals at a distinct disadvantage.

Source: FindLaw, "The Small Business Owner and Slip-and-Fall Accidents," accessed July 15, 2016

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