How Can a Business Owner Provide a Reasonably Safe Environment?

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In Texas, business owners have a duty to use ordinary care when allowing customers onto their property. This means they must be reasonably prudent ensuring that their business is safe from potential hazards and must remedy or warn customers of any known hazards in a timely manner.

What Is Duty of Care and How Does it Apply to a Business?

Duty of care is a legal requirement that an individual adhere to a standard or reasonable care when performing any acts that could foreseeable harm others. This is normally understood as practicing the same watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence that a reasonable person would practice in similar circumstances.

Based on that understanding, business owners have a duty of care to those who come onto their property; however, the length at which a property owner must go to protect visitors is highly dependent on the status of that visitor. When visiting a business, an individual will generally fall into one of two categories:

  1. Invitee: An invitee is an individual who visits a property for a reason that benefits both the visitor and the property owner. A common example of an invitee is a shopper visiting a grocery store. In this instance, the shopper benefits from getting groceries and the store benefits from the shopper spending their money.
  2. Trespasser: A trespasser is a visitor who comes onto a business property without permission of the business owner.

Once it is determined whether an individual was an invitee of the business or a trespasser, an attorney will then evaluate what duty of care was owed to the visitor.

What Duty of Care Does a Business Owner Owe a Shopper?

If it is determined that the plaintiff was an invitee of the business owner, then the business owner has a legal duty to exercise ordinary care to keep their premises safe for that invitee. This includes protecting invitees from any dangerous conditions the owner knows about or should reasonable know about as well as regularly inspecting the property in order to fix or warn invitees about any dangerous conditions.

Situations involving invitees in which a business owner may have failed to provide a duty of ordinary care and may be liable for a visitor’s injuries include:

  • Injuries caused by a defective sliding door
  • Injuries caused by improperly assembled shelves
  • Injuries cause by improperly assembled and/or poorly maintained ceilings
  • A business owner failing to provide a safe parking lot for customers
  • Slip and fall injuries caused by a we floor

However, even if a visitor is determined to be a trespasser, a business owner can be held liable for injuries suffered by the trespasser if it is determined that the business owner created dangerous conditions on his property or attempted to make known dangerous conditions worse in order to catch or punish trespassers.

What Should I Do if I’m Injured at a Business?

If you or a loved one has been injured while visiting a business and believe your injury was the result of the business owner’s failure to provide reasonable protection, there are several things you can do to strengthen your claim for compensation.

  • Seek medical attention for your injuries
    • Ensure that you or loved ones’ well being is taken care of before taking any other actions
  • Report the incident to the owner or manager of the property
    • Make sure to get a copy of the incident report
  • Take pictures of the area where the accident happened
    • Photos with a date and time are important, because evidence could be removed
  • Get names and phone numbers of any people who witnessed the accident
    • Witnesses will help prove your story in the future
  • Call an experienced injury attorney

Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney

Because of careless busienss owners, many people will suffer catastrophic injuries such as brain injuries or spinal cord injuries. The nature of many injuries which occur on dangerous property can be more than painful- they can be permanent.

Do not let your injuries overwhelm your life. If you have been seriously injured as a result of a condition or the use of real property, contact Thomas J. Henry Injury Attorneys. As your premises liability lawyer, we will secure proper medical care and fight to make sure you receive proper compensation. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends and we represent clients/victims all over the country.

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