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Slip And Fall Is About More Than Wet Floors

“Slip and fall” is a well-known name for a law whose official name is “premises liability.” This law refers to the obligation which owners and inhabitants have to create a safe environment for guests, whether that property is private or commercial. This includes things like setting warning signs around dangerous areas, making sure anything that might fall over onto somebody is secure, and making sure the building is ready for a fire.

Warning Signs

There are a lot of dangerous conditions out there that can get you into trouble if you don’t have a sign but which are perfectly acceptable when you have one. In other words, if someone slips on a wet floor it’s on you, but if anyone slips past a wet floor sign, it’s on them.

Just about the best example of this is the “Beware of Dog” sign: under Florida law, if your dog bites someone, even if the dog didn’t show any signs of aggression before, even if the person aggravated the dog into biting him or her, you’re still at least somewhat liable for the dog’s behavior. However, if your dog is in your fenced-off yard, and if you place clear “Beware of Dog” signs on the outside of that fence, then anyone who goes inside and gets bitten is entirely responsible for his or her fate.

Secure Shelves And Displays

If something is big enough to fall over onto someone, odds are it’ll be heavy enough to do some damage. That’s why tall shelves that aren’t bolted directly to the walls lean backwards slightly, and it’s one of the reasons why most of the furniture in your house is shorter and squatter than you are.

Store shelves and displays follow the same rules for the same reasons. You may have noticed that you don’t see displays made entirely from a pile of products anymore, and one reason is because it means guests can’t trip and fall into a stack of pointy boxes.

Fire Preparedness

Fire is just about any building’s worst enemy. Even if the walls and ceiling are concrete, a fire can still rush in and burn up the interior.

Being ready for a fire means maintaining the fire alarms and smoke detectors to make sure they’re in good working order when we need them. We also need to maintain and replace any aging firefighting equipment, including fire extinguishers, water hoses, sprinkler systems, and more. Finally, you need to make sure the emergency exits are unblocked and accessible to everyone in the building, and you need to make sure the doors to the emergency stairwell are always closed so that fire will have a hard time getting in.

There’s a lot more you can do to make a building safe, whether as a homeowner, a landlord (or landlady), or a business owner, but the basic idea of premises liability is that your premises shouldn’t harm people without a solid and sensible warning first. And if you should happen to slip and fall somewhere in southwest Florida, feel free to contact All Injuries Law Firm for a free initial case review.