Small Businesses Must Protect Themselves Against Premises Liability Issues

If someone opens his or her own business, this comes with a tremendous amount of risk. In addition to the capital risk that might accompany the business not succeeding, there is also the potential risk of something called premises liability. Safety is crucial for not only the people who work for a business but also the customers who walk through the property. It is critical for companies to take steps to prevent injuries from taking place. Even though employees are usually covered by worker’s compensation, this protection does not extend to visitors who might be injured in an accident. There are ways for small businesses to protect themselves against lawsuits that might stem from injuries to customers.

In a business setting, there are premises liability laws in place to protect people who walk through the building. This includes customers, vendors, and other business partners. This protection might even extend to people who trespass on the property. Therefore, business owners need to take reasonable steps to protect people who set foot on the premises regardless of whether or not the business owner actually owns the property. Even if someone is just renting the space for business purposes, they also need to make sure the business is safe.

According to Glotzer and Leib, “Those who are in control of a specific property must take steps to ensure their grounds are reasonably safe and free of hazards.” Some of the most common accidents that might take place in a business setting include slip and fall injuries, injuries due to falling objects, and lacerations from exposed hazards. For example, if it has rained recently, this might make the sidewalk slippery. This can lead to a serious injury. A wet floor inside of the building can also lead to major injuries. Finally, cluttered aisles and walkways can also increase the likelihood of someone falling and suffering a serious injury. These are a few of the most common examples of injuries that someone might sustain.

If someone is filing a premises liability lawsuit against a building, then he or she needs to demonstrate that the accident was caused by a dangerous situation at the location of the small business. He or she also needs to demonstrate that the business owner was aware of the situation (or should have been aware) and that a reasonable business owner would have taken steps to rectify the situation. This is commonly known as neglect. These cases usually depend on whether or not the business owner took reasonable measures to prevent the accident from taking place and whether or not the customer was simply careless in walking into the situation. For example, was a wet floor sign deployed to mark the location of the hazard?

Small businesses need to take steps to protect themselves against premises liability issues. This is important not only for the financial status of the business but also for protecting the health and safety of those who walk through the premises every day.


Alex is a small business blogger with a focus on entrepreneurship and growth. With over 5 years of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Alex has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, approachable and entrepreneurial-minded blogger. He has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners, and is able to provide actionable advice and strategies for success. Alex has interviewed successful entrepreneurs, and covered major small business events such as the Small Business Expo and the Inc. 500|5000 conference. He is also a successful entrepreneur himself, having started and grown several small businesses in different industries.