Small business owners in California must take care to protect all legal entrants, including patrons and employees, from known hazards. Entrants have the right to a safe environment since they are the ones who are being invited on to the property. This legal theory is known as duty of care.
Owners are thus responsible for all maintenance and its cost. They must address issues like cracks in the sidewalk and parking lot, torn carpeting, loose handrails and burnt-out lights in stairwells as soon as possible. Entrants should also be warned about some hazards, such as icy pavements or floor that have just been mopped, through signage.
Failure to take these steps can lead to slip-and-fall incidents. Small business owners may find themselves facing a premises liability claim from the victim and paying out for the victim's medical expenses and lost wages. Sometimes, owners may not be held liable since they did not know about a hazard, but simply addressing a victim's claim will still cost money.
All business owners are required to have premises liability insurance. Rates vary, but a one-person business normally pays $500 or more annually for it. Employers must also pay for signage, maintenance repairs and safety training. Employees should specifically be trained in identifying and fixing hazards. All maintenance, repairs and inspections should be documented.
As for those who have been injured because an owner or manager did not provide warning against the presence of trip hazards, slippery surfaces or loose rails, they may want to consult with a personal injury attorney about filing a claim. Such attorneys normally have networks of professionals who can investigate an accident and gather proof that the duty of care was breached. This might include the incident report and surveillance footage. An attorney may strive for an out-of-court settlement.