Suing a business for injury to recover the costs associated with an injury is possible in certain circumstances. When a business does not provide a safe environment and injuries occur, the business may be legally responsible for the injured party's financial recovery.

When Is a Business Responsible for Injury?

Most personal injury lawsuits are filed on the grounds of negligence. In such cases, the plaintiff must show that the business was required to act with a duty of care, that the duty was breached, that the breach led to the injury, and that damages ensued.

When people must enter a business's premises to purchase goods or services, the business has a reasonable duty of care to provide a safe, comfortable environment for its customers. However, the exact level of the duty of care often depends on the type of visitor.

In most jurisdictions, customers are assumed to be owed the highest duty of care since they are invited guests to the company's premises. This duty includes inspecting the premises to ensure that they are safe and warning customers of possible dangers.

A licensee is considered someone who is allowed to enter another person's property for a limited purpose. Businesses must warn licensees of possible dangers on their premises. A trespasser is a person who has no reason or permission to enter a facility and is thus not owed any duty of care. .

The court defines a reasonable standard of care as one that prevents all conceivable accidents, without being too burdensome. Examples of requirements that usually fall under this reasonable standard include:

  • Regular inspections of the premises to locate and remove possible hazards
  • Regular cleaning schedules to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents
  • Warning signs for wet floors and other hazards
  • Placing mats near entryways when the weather is wet

The plaintiff must prove that this duty was breached. For example, liquid was left on the floor, and employees knew about the mess but failed to clean it up before the fall occurred. In negligence claims, causation must be established, i.e., it must be shown that something the business did or did not do directly caused the injury. Medical bills and records of lost wages are used to show the physical harm that occurred because of the injury.

Reasons for Suing a Business

You may have grounds to sue a business if you were injured in one of the following situations:

  • You were served contaminated food at a restaurant or from a food vendor. However, it can be challenging to prove that a specific restaurant was the source of food poisoning. In most cases, many customers must have fallen ill for you to successfully prove negligence in court.
  • You slipped and fell on the premises. Buildings must legally maintain a safe, clean space for their customers. If you are injured in an area that is crowded, poorly lit, or slippery, the business can be found negligent. This requires proof that the company knew about the dangerous conditions and failed to fix them. This may also apply to injuries that occur outside the store itself depending on the circumstances.

Steps to Take if You Are Injured

  • Seek immediate medical attention. Even if you think the injury is minor, it's important to establish documentation in case you need care in the future.
  • Save your medical records so that you can be legally reimbursed for the cost of treatment. This includes all correspondence from your doctor, the hospital, and your insurance company.
  • Locate the names and contact information of individuals who may have witnessed the injury. If you are able to do so, give them your name and email address at the scene and ask them to contact you.
  • Write down your complete recollection of the accident as soon as possible after it occurs. Record every detail you can remember in chronological order.
  • Meet with an attorney to determine whether you have a case against the business where you were injured. These attorneys often collect a percentage of your settlement rather than an upfront payment.
  • File a legal complaint against the company in the appropriate jurisdiction with the help of your personal injury attorney.
  • When you experience pain, document its location, its severity, and whether it causes you to miss work, school, or an important event.

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