When operating a business, owners have a legal responsibility to keep their customers safe. It is essential for business owners to identify hazards on their property and correct any safety issues they are aware of. The failure to do this can result in injury, and potentially a premises liability claim if the injury victim decides to pursue damages.
Sometimes, business owners will dispute premises liability claims by stating that they posted a sign that warned of a safety issue — for example, a “wet floor” sign. But does posting a warning sign actually excuse business owners from liability if a customer is injured? Not necessarily.
Was the Warning Sign Clearly Visible to Customers?
Posting a warning sign is not enough to actually warn customers of safety hazards. A warning sign must be visible and easily understood in order to be helpful to customers and prevent injury. A sign that is too small, obscured by objects, not well lit, or is difficult to read will do nothing to label hazards and prevent customers from being injured. Or, something that distracts the customer from the sign may be nearby, causing them not to see it. In these cases, the presence of the sign would not be enough to reduce the business owner’s liability.
Did the Sign Successfully Prevent Injury?
Even if a sign is visible, there are other factors that can impact the efficacy of a warning sign. In some cases, properties are so hazardous that any sign does little to prevent injury.
For example, a business owner may post a warning about an electric fence on their property. If a person is hurt by the electric fence, the presence of the sign may not be enough to excuse the owner from liability. During a premises liability lawsuit, it may be determined that the fence was dangerous on its own regardless of the warning sign. Therefore, the business owner would still be liable for damages.
Identifying a sign as visible and effective can be subjective, and a sign’s impact on a property owner’s liability will vary from case to case. Evidence such as photographs and surveillance footage can be presented to demonstrate why a sign was ineffective, and the liability of the property owner. At Tedford & Associates, our lawyers are committed to holding negligent parties accountable and helping the victims of negligence recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.
If you are interested in speaking with our legal team, send us a message or call (626) 325-0142 to schedule a free consultation with our attorneys.