- April 16, 2021
- Premises Accidents
Were you or a loved one the victim of a slip and fall accident? Was there a “Wet Floor” sign posted where you fell? Or was there no warning at all before you encountered a dangerous peril? Even if there was a sign, you may be able to prove that the person in charge of the property did not do everything possible to avoid an accident and you may still be able to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit. If you are unsure about whether you can sue if there was a wet floor sign, or if you have any questions, you can speak to our slip and fall lawyers today for free.
Is a Wet Floor Sign Enough?
Anyone allowing the public to visit has an obligation to inspect the property on a regular basis. When they find something dangerous, owners are responsible for taking care of the problem as soon as possible. This known as the duty of care, and failure to follow the duty of care may be considered negligent. Owners cannot be in all places at once, but owners are also responsible for the actions and negligence of their employees. Maintenance and regular training are important parts of the responsibility of business owners. If you can prove that a business owner breached that duty of care, you may be able to get compensation for any injuries that resulted.
Floors may be particularly dangerous, because they may have different kinds of hazards victims do not notice until it is too late. When carpet becomes frayed and torn, it becomes a tripping hazard. The floor may be wet because of a leak, a spill, or because of regular cleaning. By placing a warning sign, the owner/manager is admitting that there is a hazard. The sign is simply a way to give notice so that visitors have more of a chance to that avoid specific danger. But the sign alone may not be enough to totally protect from future liability.
Was the Sign Placed So It Would Be Easy to See?
Were the letters large and clear enough that you could easily read the sign? Was the sign located in a position where it would be obvious how to avoid the hazard? Or was the sign facing in one direction, giving no warning to people walking up from another direction? The sign must be clear, easy to read, and obtrusive. Anyone approaching the sign must know immediately that there is potential danger ahead.
What Was the Timing of the Wet Floor Sign?
Did the manager wait until you fell to put up a sign? Was the sign placed there for longer than it should have taken to deal with the potential hazard? Owners cannot legally rely on a sign and ignore the responsibility to take care of the problem as fast as reasonably possible.
Is the Hazard in a Place Where Customers May Not Notice It?
Even if the sign is placed prominently on the floor, owners need to think about the location. Is there a popular item directly ahead of the spill? Is there another distraction that may keep customers from noticing the problem? If so, the owner may need to have an employee stand close and warn customers about the hazard personally.
Can You Sue for No Wet Floor Sign?
It may seem that any owner who does not warn customers about a wet floor must be negligent. However, this depends on several factors, such as the timing of the accident and how long the spill was there before the owner took action. If you want to know if you can sue for lack of a wet floor sign, consider the questions the jury will likely ask:
- When did the spill happen? How long was the spill there before the owner tried to put up a sign? The owner may try to put up a defense that a customer caused the spill, so the owner did not know about the spill until a customer was already injured. However, the owner is responsible for keeping watch over the premises and making sure that if there is a spill, someone takes care of it as soon as reasonably possible.
- How long did it take between learning about the spill and putting up the sign? If the owner can prove that the sign was placed immediately after the spill, the jury may find that the owner was not negligent and your injuries were simply the result of an unfortunate accident.
The Jury Decides What Is Reasonable
The bottom line is that you have a right to sue whether or not there was a sign. By bringing a lawsuit, you are simply making business owners accountable for their actions and inactions. New York law requires all business owners to take reasonable steps to keep all visitors safe, including customers, other vendors, and repairmen. Without the duty of care, it would be dangerous to conduct business in a shop.
Your situation is not the same as anyone else’s. Personal injury attorneys understand the need to evaluate every claim based on its unique circumstances. The real question is: “What would a reasonable person do?” You can make your argument, and the owner can try to rebut; but in the end, the jury will decide what is and is not reasonable when it comes to whether there was negligence involved in your accident. Call (516) 399-2364 today and learn what your options are. Our experienced slip and fall lawyers are happy to offer you a free consultation.