Slips, trips and falls are among the most common and most expensive liability claims against business owners. As an occupier of a commercial premise you are required to keep aisles, stairs, walkways, driveways and parking lots reasonably safe for people visiting your property.
If reasonable steps are not taken to eliminate or reduce hazards on the property, you may be held liable for any slips, trips or falls that occur. Recognizing potential hazards, identifying if the standard of care has been met and knowing what to do following a potential claim can help reduce your exposure to a claim and mitigate the cost of a claim.
Identify the Hazards
- Ice and/or snow has not been cleared
- There’s an unexpected elevation change
- Missing or loose handrails
- Debris is obstructing walkways
- Dark or dim walkways, parking lots
Has an Appropriate Standard of Care been Provided?
- Was the danger foreseeable?
- Was your conduct in accordance with what a reasonable and prudent person in similar circumstances would do?
- Was there an adequate system in place to inspect your premises and fix any potential hazards?
- Was the hazard fixed within a reasonable amount of time?
Manage your Risk Exposure
- Develop, implement and enforce an inspection and maintenance plan for employees to follow
- Document all inspections and maintenance completed
- Inspect your property frequently for potential hazards
- Provide adequate training to employees to identify and remove potential hazards
- Make sure all areas are adequately lit
- Use non-slip floor treatments
- Maintain a first aid kit and make sure it’s easily accessible
What to do if an Accident Occurs
- Assist the injured person
- Record names and contact information for the injured and any witnesses
- Provide your insurance information to the injured person
- Do not discuss liability with potential claimants and instruct your employees not to admit fault on behalf of the company
- Take pictures of the area where the accident occurred as soon as possible
- Compose a report documenting the circumstances surrounding the accident
- Report the incident to your insurer