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Are Olean businesses always liable for customer falls?

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2024 | Slip And Fall Injuries

If you have ever seen those little yellow “wet floor” signs, you might have wondered if you missed it and fell, if that business is always liable for that fall.

When customers fall on business premises in Olean, New York, the question of liability is not always straightforward.

Understanding liability

Businesses in New York are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for their customers. This duty involves ensuring that their premises are free from hazards that could cause slips, trips or falls. This does not mean that a business is automatically liable for every fall that occurs on its property.

When are businesses liable?

A business can be held liable for a customer’s fall if it can be proven that the business or its employees caused the hazardous condition, such as a spill or a damaged walkway. Additionally, if the business knew about a hazard, but did nothing to correct it, or if the hazard was something a reasonable person would have identified and addressed, the business could be held responsible. For instance, if a store manager was aware of a wet floor but failed to clean it up or put up a warning sign, the business might be liable for any resulting injuries.

When are businesses not liable?

Businesses are not always liable for customer falls. If a hazard is deemed “open and obvious,” the property owner might not be liable for any injuries resulting from it. Moreover, if a business owner takes reasonable steps to prevent harm by regularly inspecting the property and promptly addressing any dangers, they may not be held liable for accidents. For example, if a spill occurs and the business owner cleans it up within a reasonable timeframe, they may not be responsible for any falls that occur before the cleanup.

While businesses have a duty to keep their premises safe, they are not always liable for customer falls. Liability depends on whether the business caused or ignored the hazard, or if it took reasonable steps to prevent accidents. Each case is unique, and understanding these nuances is crucial when determining liability for customer falls.