In view of the fact that a premises liability lawsuit can tie up a business owner in court for lengthy periods, or potentially even do irreparable damage to his business, it behooves all business owners to know the facts. There are at least three such key facts that need to be clearly understood.
If Your Business Has Premises that Customers or Clients Frequent, You have Premises “Responsibility“
Not all businesses actually fall into this category. For example, those businesses that exclusively offer what might be called “intellectual services” [no tangible physical product or inventory] via telephone or through the internet have no premises, and therefore have no premises responsibility. Any business that provides and maintains actual physical premises frequented by clients is responsible for the state or condition of such premises. It is essential, then, for all such business owners to recognize and take responsibility for the physical state of their business premises. This responsibility is not transferable. That is, the ultimate responsibility rests with the business owner, and not any employee or representative.
Premises “Responsibility” is NOT Mitigated due to Ignorance
All business owners whose business maintains customer-frequented premises are responsible for the physical state of such premises always, and cannot alleviate their responsibility due to ignorance of unsatisfactory conditions. For example, a business owner who is on vacation out of town, and is unaware that his employees have been remiss in sustaining appropriate safety conditions on the business premises, cannot plead ignorance of such conditions as a legal loophole. His accountability remains as if he were literally present on the premises himself. Additionally, any business owner whose business requires premises such as we have been describing is fully responsibility for knowing the laws that relate to the type of premises he sustains. Ignorance of the laws will not excuse him from Premises Liability.
Premises “Responsibility” Leads to Premises Liability
It is because of the two fundamental facts that we have already established above regarding business premises that every such business owner must take Premises Liability seriously. Failure to handle Premises Responsibility adequately will almost always lead to Premises Liability. When the responsibilities are overlooked or neglected the potential for a liability lawsuit will escalate exponentially. And, as suggested earlier, all such lawsuits have the potential of doing irreparable harm to the business, both in the short term and in the long term. Any business owner whose business goes through such a lawsuit, even if not found guilty of any legal liability, is likely to suffer loss of business and revenues in its community simply through “bad press.” A business’ reputation is hard to repair once it has been tarnished.
What has been said here about business owner’s Premises Liability carries over to property owner’s liability as well. Such things as dog bites, or insufficiently protected pools in backyards can bring lawsuits based on Premises Liability for the ordinary homeowner. For an excellent description of all such Premises Liability please see this website. Anyone who owns property, and especially any business owners who must maintain business premises that are frequented by clients or customers, should take Premises “Responsibility” seriously, since it can easily lead to Premises Liability in court.