There are technically a wide range of situations that could lead to a customer experiencing a slip-and-fall at a retail establishment. For example, perhaps there was bad weather, and customers have tracked in rainwater from outside or fully saturated rugs might cause someone to slip and then fall. Spilled merchandise and a retail shop could lead to someone falling. So could a beverage dropped on the ground at a fast-food restaurant.
Businesses are sometimes liable for the injuries caused by a slip-and-fall incident when company negligence caused the situation. If a reasonable person would agree that the company failed to do something that would have prevented the incident, the scenario may involve negligence. One business choice, in particular, is often the underlying factor that causes slip-and-falls.
How do some businesses neglect to keep customers safe?
Despite an assortment of different facility issues that can cause slip-and-fall incidents, the vast majority of them all relate to one issue. Understaffing is a chronic issue at many retail and customer-facing businesses.
Employees represent one of the operational expenses that companies can control. They will often try to minimize how many people are on the schedule at any given time as a way of keeping costs as low as possible. The issue with this approach is that any time there are customers in a store, there is a need for maintenance and cleaning.
When companies operate with a skeleton crew, cleaning and facility maintenance are often the first tasks to go unaddressed. Workers will instead focus on providing customer service or operating cash registers. Spills, rumpled rugs and other issues that could cause a slip-and-fall could persist for hours before workers are able to address them. In the meantime, there is a constant risk of a customer falling.
If basic cleaning or maintenance would have prevented a slip-and-fall, then the understaffing at the facility is potentially an actionable form of negligence that could lead to a customer lawsuit against the business. A successful premises liability lawsuit could help someone recoup medical expenses, property damage losses and lost wages related to a slip-and-fall incident.