Fall Injuries in Business Locations
Every business should have a procedure in place for responding to customer injuries on their premises. If the business is immediately notified of the injury, an employee will usually write an incident report either while you are there or after you leave. Keep in mind that anything you say or do may end up on the report. Businesses generally will not release a copy of the incident report, but inexperienced employees may mistakenly give you one if you ask. At times, having a copy of the report can be what causes your case to settle after months instead of years.
There are two stages to the question of fault. First is whether the risk was obvious to the patron before the injury. If it was, the injured party will have a more difficult time establishing liability. The second factor is whether the business could reasonably have been expected to eliminate the risk before the injury. This analysis often hinges on whether the risk was temporary or permanent in nature. If temporary, the business will have the onus of proving that it took reasonable measures to maintain its premises in a safe manner for its patrons. Having an attorney by your side is indispensable to combat the businesses’ characterization of events.
Lastly, many injuries at business locations result from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) violations. OSHA governs many engineering details that manifest themselves in building codes and other construction requirements. At Heaton & Associates, we can help you obtain the report, establish liability, tell you if OSHA violations may have contributed to your injury, and how best to utilize these fact to strengthen your claim.