When people fall in a store or other type of business, it is generally understood that the business or property owner may have some liability for the injuries. Under Indiana law, property owners and businesses that operate in the state have a certain level of obligation to their patrons. Experienced slip and fall lawyers commonly must parse through difficult factual scenarios to properly determine the obligations and responsibilities at issue, then figure out whether those duties were violated by the business or property owner.
Indiana law does not require store owners to put out “wet floor” signs. However, if the floor was slippery and wet, the owner should have at least provided some warning to customers. If you slipped due to the owner’s negligence, you should consult with a slip and fall lawyer right away to protect your rights.
One of the biggest measures that businesses can take to reduce liability is to warn the public of specific known dangers or hazards. Here’s how wet floor signs and other warnings may or may not be enough for a defendant to avoid paying compensation to a victim.
Why Use Wet Floor Signs?
Before we can answer this, you have to understand what is involved in proving a claim for slip and fall injuries in Indiana. Assuming you are a shopper in a store, you will almost always be considered an invitee. Businesses and property owners must make their premises reasonably safe for customers and warn people of known hazards. So, if there are sharp objects sticking out of a shelf, the business owner should fix it as soon as possible. Until a fix can be made, there should be some form of clear warning to avoid people suffering a serious injury.
The same is true of wet floors. Because spills are going to happen, businesses are not expected to immediately have it cleaned within seconds. However, the longer that spills are left unresolved, the more likely someone will get hurt. Therefore, most stores will try to get to the wet floor and have it mopped quickly. Then a wet floor sign is deployed to warn the public. The theory is that by using the signs, the customers are then on notice of the dangerous condition and the business has done its job. But this is not always enough.
When Wet Floors Are Not Enough
While it’s helpful to use visible warnings, this may not be enough in all circumstances. For instance, here are some scenarios where a person may potentially still be able to recover from a business or property owner for negligence, despite using wet floor signs:
- Fall on grease. A business can argue all day that they used wet floor signs, but if the mop bucket is full of greasy liquid that makes the floor more slippery than it would otherwise be with regular floor cleaner, then there may be liability.
- No egress. It’s tough for a business to make a straight-faced argument that wet floor signs are enough if there was no other path or direction of travel and egress. In other words, if the only way out of the building was through a wet floor area, then it’s probably not enough to avoid liability
- Floor mats. Whether there are missing mats, ineffective mats, the wrong type of mats, or severely used or worn mats that have been placed wrong, keep in mind that absorbent mats can also lead to injuries.
- Wet floor signs after the fact. Finally, a business can’t reasonably defend a case by saying they put our wet floor signs after you are hurt.
Getting Help Right Away
With offices throughout Indiana, you can count on Truitt Law Offices to help you in your time of need. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping people recover for injuries incurred in slip and fall accidents. If you need help, give us a call today.