If I work at a bar and a customer tripped over our wheelchair ramp, can we be held liable for any injuries it may have caused?

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If I work at a bar and a customer tripped over our wheelchair ramp, can we be held liable for any injuries it may have caused?

Also, we have signs posted saying we are not responsible for any accidents/injuries that occur at the bar. Do those signs have any legal standing at all?

Asked on December 20, 2014 under Personal Injury, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The signs don't really help--they don't hurt, but they don't add much, if anything, to your legal protection. However, you would not be liable for a customer tripping over your wheelchair ramp unless you were at fault in some way; a business, tenant, and/or property owner is not liable simply because a person is injured on their premises. Rather, there must be fault, or something which was done wrong. If the wheelchair ramp was designed or installed incorrectly, so that it had some unreasonably large "lip" or obstruction on it; if the ramp had been worn or damaged and not repaired, so it had protrusions, rough patches, etc. over which someone could trip; if there was some slipperly spill on it (e.g. beer) which you were in fact aware of or should have been aware of, but failed to clean...in situations like those, you could be liable. But if without you doing anything wrong, the customer tripped, you should not be liable. That doesn't mean he can't try filing a lawsuit against you, or at least threatening to sue, but to win, he'd have to be able to prove fault.


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