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Jul, 2016

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Don’t Fall for Negligence Liability

Keeping Your Home or Business Safe Could Help You Avoid Litigation

You can’t always protect other people from misfortune. For instance, if someone visits your home or business facility and gets hurt, you may feel like it’s beyond your control. Convincing South Dakota courts, however, is another matter entirely.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go as far as virtually child-proofing your entire home or office. There are much easier, basic ways to reduce liability and potential hazards on your property.

Don’t Let Dangerous Animals Near People

South Dakota legal precedent establishes a so-called “one-bite” rule when determining if an animal’s owner should be held responsible for an attack. This essentially means that if your dog has bitten someone once in the past, you ought to know it has the potential to be dangerously aggressive. When you fail to employ reasonable care to prevent future incidents, you might be deemed liable by reason of your negligence. This idea of taking action to preempt negative outcomes is important in other liability areas as well.

Minimize Known Workplace Dangers

If your business involves operating machinery in the course of your normal operation, you should be extra careful with liabilities. Should a worker get their exposed flesh caught in a mechanism and suffer an injury as a result, you might be deemed liable because you didn’t install safeguards to lower the chances of such harm. If you neglected an OSHA order to correct a problem, your punishment may include severe fines in addition to any lawsuit judgment.

Once again, negligence and intent play roles in whether courts decide you’re actually at fault. For example, if your employee overrides safety guards, railing or other barriers, they could be deemed liable for the outcome. If, on the other hand, you installed barriers of lesser quality or used machinery of known inferiority to save money, the victim might just have a case. The key determining factor commonly rests on whether you have the documentation to prove you acted in accordance with established safety practices, such as OSHA guidelines.

Hunt for Unknown Risks

Another important element that often decides who’s at fault for a victim’s injury is whether the victim should have had a reasonable expectation of harm for their actions. For instance, someone shopping in your retail outlet should be able to visit and browse without worrying about imminent dangers. If they decide to climb your displays and shelves, however, they’re putting themselves at risk.

As a property owner or business manager, you need to take steps to minimize hazards that might catch people off guard. At a basic level, this includes common-sense precautions like putting out wet floor signs when you mop. With some properties, however, it may involve major renovation efforts, like performing electrical repairs or getting a building inspection. To learn more about reducing liability on your premises, get in touch with the Wilka & Welter staff today.