618-622-3600 Toll-Free 800-624-4571 twyatt@kujawskiassociates.com
When you go to a friend’s house, to the store or to an amusement park, you have the expectation that you will be reasonably safe. That is, no one should consciously put you in harm’s way. If there have been potential dangers such as a dog liable to bite or a bridge that has grown increasingly weak, the person responsible has identified the risks and taken care of them. Or so that is how it should work in a perfect world.

The reality is not as clear-cut. For example, an employee may have spotted a potentially dangerous stray dog roaming the outskirts of amusement park property and notified management. However, one person may have expected another to call animal control, and no one ever made the call. Likewise, if a customer spills water at a store, one employee who works in stocking might tell no one about it because he or she thinks that another employee will spot the puddle soon and take care of it. Ultimately, the store has failed in training its employees to address potential hazards quickly no matter their position.

So, what can you reasonably expect from a property owner in terms of safety?

If it is a business property

On commercial properties, including those of people working from home, you should expect the following:

• Employees who have received safety training
• The existence of a safety policy
• Safeguards such as locks and fences around potential attractive nuisances
• Clearly marked hazards (for example, temporary “wet floor” signs)
• Guest safety rules (for example, “no running around the pool”)
• Adequate lighting
• Potential risks addressed as soon as possible

If it is personal property

Personal property can include homes and the insides of apartments, although landlords can be responsible for common spaces and, in some cases, for the interiors of apartments. In any case, safety expectations on personal property include the following:

• Safeguards such as locks and fences around potential attractive nuisances
• Warnings about potential risks such as a dog
• Infrastructure such as stairs or sidewalks in adequate condition

The above is not a comprehensive list but should give you an idea.