By now, we’re all aware of the dangers involved in entering business establishments and interacting with other people who may be spreading COVID-19 whether or not they have any symptoms. We know we should stay at least six feet away from other people, wear a mask covering our nose and mouth, try to avoid touching our face, and wash our hands for at least 20 seconds after we’ve been anywhere outside our homes and have touched anything.
However, we may not realize that in addition to risking infection, even the most cautious individual among us is at risk of getting hurt during this frightening time because of conditions caused by fear among shoppers, employees and managers of commercial premises. In times of general fear or panic, people tend to be more distracted and rushed, and common safety precautions can be neglected amidst the numerous new cautionary measures being taken by businesses.
As the Florida economy reopens, it’s important to know what kinds of dangers you may be facing and what to do if you’re seriously injured at a business establishment.
Hazards at Stores and Essential Businesses in Florida
Thousands of people are seriously injured every year from hazards encountered in retail stores and other businesses. Uneven walking surfaces, unsecured rugs, wet or debris covered floors, poorly maintained stairways and poor lighting can all result in people falling. However, commercial premises are especially dangerous when people are rushing through them to acquire precious goods in limited supply or due to fear of exposure to illness.
Furthermore, as customers focus on communications regarding new safety procedures in the form of store signs and directional floor markings intended to foster safe social distancing, people may forget to simply watch where they’re going and may fail to see and appreciate more traditional hazards. Similarly, while store employees have to worry about sanitizing surfaces and crowd control, they might not devote sufficient resources and attention to the safe stacking of items and the elimination of slipping and tripping hazards that can result in serious injury to consumers. Simply put, we are in a new world with new challenges and novel dangers about which we must be vigilant.
Despite the genuine challenges posed by this pandemic, Florida’s property owners and managers still have a legal duty to maintain a safe environment for those who visit and are lawfully present on their premises. Business owners are not, however, automatically liable for injuries that occur on their property. Instead, they can be held legally accountable when their failure to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance and operation of their property causes injury to others.
Concerns about Health Hazards as the Florida Economy Reopens
As Florida gradually reopens for business, various concerns about the public’s safety are sure to emerge. Will places of business take adequate steps to ensure the safety of consumers? Will they follow guidelines for social distancing, wearing masks, hand washing and sanitizing, or will they be lax in implementing and maintaining precautionary procedures?
If businesses fail to follow government guidelines or controlling law, they should be reported to the appropriate health department or other governmental authorities. It is imperative, however, that individuals protect themselves by staying away from irresponsible stores and other businesses that do not adhere to the safest and best practices. Holding commercial establishments accountable for a Covid-19 infection would be difficult given the challenge in proving the source of a person’s newly acquired infection. But businesses have an inescapable duty to follow the dictates of law and reason and when they fail to do so and cause harm to others, then can and should be held responsible.
If You’re Injured While at a Place of Business in Florida
As the Florida economy reopens, if you are injured on any commercial premises such as a store, a mall, a bank, an office or any residential building or development, due to a negligently created or maintained condition, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. So, please call the premises liability attorneys at the Boyers Law Group for help. We have many years of experience in successfully winning just compensation for our clients injured due to dangerous premises.