Warning sign won’t stop slip-and-fall suit

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Simply warning customers of possible safety problems—then having them sign a waiver after an accident—won’t shield your company from liability. As the following case illustrates, you need to find and fix potential hazards and prevent injuries before they occur.

Recent case: A federal judge awarded $125,000 to a woman who slipped and broke her ankle on a cruise ship. Two large signs where she fell warned, “Attention: Inclined ramp inside; use caution when entering.” And the woman signed a statement after the accident saying “I do not feel there was any fault with the ship.”

But a judge ruled that the ship owner knew of the ramp’s danger and should have done more to correct it, such as using carpet with more friction. A warning was not enough. The judge also said the waiver was not binding because the woman was in pain when she signed it. (Kunken v. Celebrity Cruises Inc., SDNY, Civ. 7304)

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