The law does not make that decision; that is a question of fact. A question of fact is what is resolved in trials. Generally speaking, in an injury case, a question of fact is resolved by a jury, who are people from the community. It is resolved after hearing evidence from both sides and after digesting all the information about the store operations and investigation, what happened, and what caused it. All those things are considered so that decisions can be made.
There can be lots of reasons that a case is not resolved after all the evidence is evaluated. It can be because the parties cannot reach an agreement as to whether or not the defendant or the proprietor was at fault. In cases involving slip and falls and trip and falls, the defense will argue that the injured party caused his or her own injuries. If the parties can reach an agreement on who was at fault, very often, but not always, they can reach an agreement on what the plaintiff should be paid. In certain kinds of injuries, like brain injuries, there will often not be a meeting of the minds with regard to the value of those claims.
Most business owners are concerned about how to show due care and how to prevent injuries. If you are running a business, you have to meet the standard of reasonable care by conducting regular inspections of the property to make sure that you can identify both obvious and not-so-obvious conditions that could cause injury, fully inspecting and regularly servicing whatever equipment that you have.
In addition to escalators and elevators, another example is defective refrigeration equipment that causes water to accumulate on the floor. When this occurs, the business owner’s immediate obligation is to post signs warning of a possibly wet floor and to correct the leaking situation. An absorbent sock used to absorb water leaking from refrigeration equipment will, at some point, stop absorbing when it is full. The absorbent sock should not be a permanent solution; the situation that is causing that problem should either be repaired or replaced.
Very often, there are industry and equipment standards. Generally, the manufacturer of a piece of equipment will advise what needs to be done at a minimum to maintain the equipment. You should be able to show that you are meeting that minimum standard. In case you are not, you may not be doing enough to prevent injury. Meeting those minimum standards is common sense. You can always do more, but if there is a manual or a direction, like a service company that takes care of your supermarket refrigeration equipment, and instead of getting monthly maintenance service, you decide to do it every other month and you have a problem, then that is on you.
Read about the Responsibilities Business Owners Have To Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents on Their Premises. Call the law offices of Casper & de Toledo in Stamford, Connecticut for an initial consultation at (203) 325-8600 and get the information and legal answers you’re seeking.