As a business owner, one of the most frustrating things you can deal with is a potentially fraudulent slip-and-fall accident on your business's property. While it is important to provide adequate safety and protection for your customers and others, it is also important to understand how to defend yourself against a fraudulent personal injury claim by an individual who is hoping to take advantage of you.
If some party claims that you bear responsibility for their injury on your property, are you always on the hook? No, business owners are not always liable, but face some significant difficulty proving this in the eyes of the court.
In almost all slip-and-fall cases, the issue of liability rides on the business owner's care in keeping the property safe and the plaintiff's care in avoiding a hazard or intentionally not avoiding it.
For instance, if a business owner does not know about a particular hazard, he or she may not hold liability for an injury because of the hazard. In general, in order to hold liability for an injury from a premises hazard, the plaintiff must prove that the business owner:
- Knew about the dangerous condition and failed to correct it out of negligence
- Created the condition in the first place
- Had sufficient time to learn of the condition because it persisted for a significant amount of time
It is also possible that a victim of an injury may claim that a business owner holds liability because a hazard developed due to violations of local codes and regulations.
Defending your rights
It is difficult to know how to defend your rights as a business until you assess your accuser's claims in the light of several sets of laws. In many instances, personal injury law favors a plaintiff, so it is absolutely essential to gather as much evidence to bolster your claims of innocence as you can.
Next, it is important to assess exactly what the plaintiff claims you did or did not do as the business owner to address the hazard before it caused an injury. In most instances, the key to building a strong defense is a detailed understanding of the claims against you, so that you can build individual strategies to defend against each claim.
Of course, as a business owner, it is often difficult to address all of these concerns on your own. You can consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that you understand your rights and the laws that govern your dispute, to build a strong defense and protect your rights and interests.