There has been a dramatic rise in both the number of claims and settlement amounts for slip-and-fall incidents since the early 1990s. Did you know one major insurance companies’ loss experience due to slip and fall claims equals to almost half of their liability claims. This increase will continue to mean premium increases for all business owners with slip-and-fall exposures. Even loss-free businesses will see higher premiums while businesses with claims can expect both larger premiums and deductibles.
The Law Today
When a visitor slips, trips, stumbles, falls and is hurt on your premises, you should now expect that a claim will be brought against you. You have responsibilities under law as an owner or occupier of your premises. An occupier is anyone with physical control of the premises, including the conditions and the activities carried on there.
Under law, you owe to your visitors a duty to take care “that is reasonable in the circumstances” to ensure that visitors are reasonably safe while on your premises. In other words, for owners and occupiers, there is a real responsibility to take active precautions to keep the premises safe for visitors.
In some cases, the courts have found occupiers liable for their visitors’ injuries. In other cases, the courts found the occupiers were not liable.
The list of possible risks could be endless but a stroll around your farm or business and the access areas is a good place to start. Here are some of the most frequent sources of slip-and-fall claims – a list you can use to help identify risks on your premises:
Aisles: liquid or produce spills, shelved objects, falling obstacles, boxes.
Entrance ways: melting snow, ice or water, produce scraps, slippery flooring, and moisture on waxed floors, wrinkled or ripped carpeting.
Parking lots and walkways: ice patches, frozen accumulated water, snow, potholes, uneven pavement, cracks and obstacles.
Stairs or areas where elevation changes: uneven stair treads, inadequate handrails, wet surfaces, poor lighting.
Washrooms: water spills, wet floors.
With attention to detail, good maintenance and inspection
procedures that are well documented, accidents and claims can be prevented or
successfully defended. Conscientious loss prevention is the only way to control
spiraling claims costs.
Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business!