When it comes to slip and fall accidents, gas stations are rife with potential hazards not just inside the convenience store, but also outside. These incidents can lead to significant injuries, ranging from minor scrapes and bruises to severe, life-altering conditions. If you have slipped and fell it is critical to understand the extent of a business’s responsibility in maintaining a safe environment across its entire premises, including outdoor areas. We will be delving into premises liability, what a gas station owner’s standards of care is, and how liability is determined for accidents occurring outside of the brick and mortar store front.
Premises Liability and the Broad Scope of Standards of Care
Premises liability is a type of law that governs personal injury claims that occur on someone else’s property. A property owner is not responsible in every circumstance where someone is injured on their land, for example if you were hurt on someones front lawn they may not be responsible for your injuries. However it also dictates specific rules for business owners to ensure that their customers are safe while inside, this being a standard of care. Gas station owners bear the responsibility of ensuring a safe environment for their customers not only within the confines of their stores but also in outdoor areas where customers are likely to traverse. This comprehensive standard of care ensures that owners regularly inspect the property for potential hazards, address known dangers promptly, and implement preventive measures to avert accidents. Neglecting these responsibilities, especially in high risk areas like pump stations and storefront walkways, can render a gas station liable for resulting injuries under premises liability.
Identifying Outdoor Hazards
The unique operational dynamics of gas stations introduce several outdoor hazards, including:
- Spills: fuel, oil, and other substances can create slick surfaces prone to causing slips.
- Weather Conditions: Accumulation of rain, snow, and ice around pumps and on walkways pose significant slip risks.
- Surface Irregularities: Cracks, potholes, uneven paving in parking lots and pathways can easily trip up customers.
- Insufficient Lighting: Inadequate lighting can obscure visibility, making it harder to spot potential dangers.
Liability for Outdoor Slip and Fall Incidents
A gas station’s liability for slip and falls occurring outside, by the pumps, or in front of the storefront hinges on several factors:
Presence of Hazard:
Establishing that a hazardous condition existed in the outdoor area is the foundational step. This could be anything from a fuel spill to an icy path, but if you do slip and fall, be sure to take pictures of the area that you slipped to establish a presence of hazard.
Awareness of Hazard:
It must be proven that the gas station’s management was aware or reasonably should have been aware of the hazard. This knowledge could be direct (they were informed about it) or inferred from the duration the condition was present, suggesting that they should have known about it.
Lack of Corrective Action:
Demonstrating that the gas station failed to address the known hazard is crucial. Liability is often based on the premise that despite knowing about the risk, the establishment has done nothing to rectify the situation or warn their patrons.
The direct link between the hazardous outdoor condition and the injury sustained is essential. Victims must prove their injuries were a direct result of the gas station’s negligence in maintaining outdoor safety.
Taking Action After an Outdoor Slip and Fall
If you were injured from a slip and fall accident at a gas station acting promptly is crucial. Make sure that you document the incident and report it to the establishment. If you were injured make sure that you seek immediate medical attention, and of consult with a personal injury attorney. At LifeLaw Personal Injury our legal expertise is invaluable when navigating the complexities of proving negligence.
A gas station is responsible for ensuring the safety of their entire premises, whether you are inside the storefront or outside at a pump station. When an accident occurs in these areas due to the negligence of the owner, the establishment may be held liable. Proving the negligence of a business can be difficult, so let our team of the best injury lawyers in Utah worry about your case so you can focus on what is really important, your recovery. If you or someone you know has been injury contact LifeLaw Personal Injury today for a free consultation. 801-206-4002