If they want to stay in business for long, Kentucky business owners should provide their customers a safe, welcoming environment. Similarly, social hosts generally are expected to keep their homes reasonably clean and clear of hazards that could hurt somebody.
This is more than smart business or good manners. In Kentucky, it’s the law.
A duty of care
Here in Kentucky, property owners owe a legal duty of due care to invitees, customers and others with the legal right to be on the property. Specifically, owners must take reasonable steps to discover potential slip-and-fall traps like a puddle on the floor or a broken railing on a staircase. Once an owner finds out (or reasonably should have found out) about a hazard on the premises, they must take reasonable action to fix it, such as by mopping up the water or repairing the railing. Alternatively, they can warn visitors about the hazard, such as putting a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign near the wet area or one posted near the stairs telling people to go a different way.
What can happen when a property owner is negligent
Failure to meet this legal duty means that if somebody falls and hurts themselves due to the hazard, the property owner could be fully liable for the victim’s injuries. A trip and fall onto a hard surface or sharp corner can cause serious harm. A victim can hurt their head, back, neck or one of their limbs. They could need complicated and expensive medical treatment and might be unable to work for months, or be left unable to earn an income again.
Often, slip-and-fall victims cannot tell that they are walking in an unsafe area until it is too late. That is why the law puts the burden on property owners to reasonably prevent and repair traps.