You may wonder what the rules are for wet floor signs in Las Vegas slip and fall cases. Chances are, you’ve seen wet floor signs near spills or recently mopped floors in businesses.
Businesses use these signs for your safety. They also use them as a way to reduce their legal liability for slip and fall accidents on their property. If you have sustained injuries in a slip and fall where a wet floor sign was present, you may want to work with a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas to determine your options for recovery. Here’s what you should know about wet floor sign rules in Las Vegas.
Wet Floor Sign Rules Are Part of Premises Liability in Nevada
Premises liability is the idea that a person who owns a piece of property must keep their property safe. In the case of a business owner, they invite other people to come onto their property and conduct business. Customers enter the property, buy goods or services, and the business owner makes a profit.
If a customer gets hurt because of dangerous conditions on the property, the property owner might be legally liable for the customer’s damages. The idea that liability can attach to the property owner because of dangerous conditions is called premises liability.
Businesses Have a High Duty to Keep Patrons Safe
Because the business owner stands to gain from doing business with customers, business owners have the highest duty of care to keep their patrons safe. In fact, business owners have the highest obligation of all of the types of property owners. A business owner must take affirmative steps to inspect their property and keep it safe for customers. They must look for dangers and take steps to remedy them before someone gets hurt.
Wet Floor Signs Are Part of the Duty to Warn
Generally, a business owner must inspect their property regularly. They must fix known dangers as soon as they practically can. In some cases, it’s not possible to fix a danger right away.
For example, if an employee mops the floor, the floor may be slippery until it has time to try. The business may place a wet floor sign out to warn customers until the area dries. Alternatively, there may be a leak that causes an ongoing problem. The business might have a call into a plumber that can’t make it out to fix the leak for several hours.
Until they can fix a spill, a business can use a wet floor sign to warn customers about the danger. The wet floor sign can help customers notice the danger and avoid it. A business owner has an obligation to advise customers about wet spots on their property. If a business owner puts out a wet floor sign, it may protect them from legal liability in the event that someone slips and falls on the spill.
If they don’t warn customers, they may be legally liable for the slip and fall. Putting out the wet floor signs can be the business’ way of warning customers. A sign may be more practical than warning customers individually. The company can also use signs around the spill to act as a barrier for customers. In some circumstances, a business owner can reduce or eliminate their legal liability for a spill by using the wet floor signs.
But Warning Customers May Not Be Enough in All Cases
Placing a wet floor sign on a spill may not be enough to shield a business owner from legal liability for a slip and fall. There may be some circumstances where a wet floor sign is inadequate. For example, if the business relies on a wet floor sign longer than it takes to clean up the spill, the wet floor sign may not shield them from legal liability.
Also, if it’s reasonable to anticipate that someone would walk past the warning signs onto the spill, a sign alone may not be enough. For example, if the spill is near desirable products at a store and customers might try to cross the spill to pick up items, the store may need to take additional steps. They might have an employee warn customers personally or move products where customers can reach them safely.
The Jury Decides What’s Reasonable
It’s up to the jury to decide if the business acted reasonably under all of the circumstances. Even if employees think that the spill is obvious, the business still may need to place a wet floor sign to avoid legal liability.
On the other hand, even a wet floor sign may not be enough if the signs aren’t noticeable or if the business should have had time to fix the spill or if the circumstances made it likely that customers would try to walk on the spill. The jury weighs all the evidence and determines the legal liability of the business.
A Business Owner Is Liable for the Actions of Their Employees
Employees are the agents of the business they work for. Their actions can expose the business to legal liability. The business owners can’t avoid legal responsibility for a slip and fall by arguing that employees made errors. Instead, if employees failed to take the right steps to prevent a slip and fall, their very actions may be what exposes the business to liability.
What Should I Do If I’m the Victim of a Slip and Fall?
If you’re the victim of a slip and fall, the existence of a wet floor sign can make a big difference when it comes to whether the business is legally responsible. If you’re hurt in a slip and fall at a business, your first concern should be your immediate medical attention.
If you’re able or a friend can assist, it’s helpful to snap a few photos of the accident scene. Your camera phone can do the job. Taking pictures right away can preserve evidence of whether there were wet floor signs and where they were. Also, you can demand that the business keep any surveillance video that they might have that can shed light on how the accident occurred.
Contact Us Today
Were you hurt because of a spill at a business? Our legal team at the Las Vegas law firm, Adam S. Kutner & Associates, can help. We can help you understand what Nevada law has to say about slip and fall accidents and how a wet floor sign might make a difference in your claim. We can also work with you to preserve evidence and build your claim.