To start, it is crucial to have a written policy that addresses how to deal with ice and snow conditions, especially in a place like Alaska, where winter weather can be treacherous. Having clear guidelines in place can help set expectations for visitors and demonstrate your commitment to safety.
Consider a case involving a large national bank where an individual slipped and fell on a relatively dry walkway in December, shortly after misting began, creating a slick surface. While it may be tempting to represent the bank, a closer look revealed that this was not the first time the plaintiff had fallen. They had sued other businesses, such as Safeway and Walmart, in similar circumstances. In this case, high-heeled shoes were deemed inappropriate for such conditions.
Standards and Actions
One critical aspect is to outline standards and actions in your written policy. Determine at what point plowing, sanding, or other actions should be taken when weather conditions reach a certain level. Having clear guidelines in place can strengthen your defense.
In addition to a written policy, proper signage is essential. It's not just ice that can lead to lawsuits; other hazardous conditions must be addressed as well. Simple, inexpensive signs can provide clear warnings to visitors and can make a significant difference.
Consider implementing a written condition log. Although it may not be practical to have someone observe conditions every 15 minutes and document them, the mere presence of such a log can bolster your defense.
Training your employees on how to handle hazardous conditions is vital. Ensure they know the proper procedures and protocols to follow when adverse weather occurs.
Having an emergency contact number available can be a lifesaver. If conditions warrant it, having a number that people can call for assistance showcases your commitment to safety and can help mitigate potential legal issues.
In conclusion, slip and fall lawsuits are a reality in Alaska, given its challenging weather conditions. To protect your interests, it is essential to establish a robust defense strategy. Focus on having a written policy, clear standards, appropriate signage, documentation, employee training, and an emergency contact number. By addressing these key elements, you can significantly reduce your vulnerability to slip and fall lawsuits. Remember, prevention is the best defense.
The information provided in this document on Slip and Fall Risk Reducers is a compilation of suggestions gathered from our students over the years. It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws and regulations regarding slip and fall cases may vary depending on your jurisdiction and specific circumstances. For tailored legal advice and guidance pertaining to your unique situation, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified attorney who specializes in personal injury law. This document should not be used as a substitute for professional legal counsel, and we disclaim any liability for any actions taken or not taken based on the information provided herein.