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Tom: Tis the season for ice, snow, and sleet, and in fact, we have seen our first significant snowfall forcing many of us to shuffle around and find our shovels and our salt. A quick reminder, you are responsible for keeping your property safe for others. In fact, here now to help you avoid the slip and fall lawsuits is Charles Gilman, partner with Gilman and Bedigian. Thanks so much for coming in.
Charles Gilman: Good morning, Tom, thanks for having me as always.
Tom: Well, it’s funny because you know we’re talking about slip and falls and we’re kind, kind of handling both sides of this. Whether you are someone who is a victim of a slip and fall when it wasn’t your fault. Contacting a lawyer there, and there are some steps, but also the business aspect of it when you do. We have black ice which is always with us around here in Maryland. And we have colder temperatures now, great time to go through this again.
Charles Gilman: Alright perfect. If you’re a business owner or a complex owner or something along those lines where it’s open to the general public, what you want to do is either make sure you’re salting it yourself or as a bigger business, you want to make sure you have a contractor on hand that’s going to be readily available and will handle it regardless of the time of day it happens. Because if you have a business, for example, an office building that opens at nine you want to make sure, as the owner of that building, to protect the people that are going to come into that building. By having the salt down and the snow removed so it’s safe for them when they try to enter or exit that building.
Tom: And we’re really talking about outside the building and inside that building because if it is slushy conditions outside, the floors in the building can become slick.
Charles Gilman: Correct I mean a lot of office buildings or malls have those nice marble floors and they’re beautiful when it’s dry but they do create a hazard when they become wet.
Tom: Protecting yourself though if someone does fall on the property, I mean, it’s the how the when … is it easy to fight and to argue “we tried doing our best” or is that difficult for businesses?
Charles Gilman: It’s difficult for the business owner, but it’s changed a lot. I mean with surveillance cameras and everything else nowadays, we as lawyers can get the surveillance footage and find out whether the appropriate measures were taken or not and if they weren’t, who was it in that process. Was it the independent contractor, or the owner who failed to take the appropriate measures to protect the patrons?
Tom: Property owners themselves, I mean non-business property owners … just outside of your house, you have to take care of the sidewalk outside that’s your responsibility too. Let’s flip and go to the other side of it. If you do find yourself walking into a business or walking past a residential home and you do slip and fall and hurt yourself, what are the steps you need?
Charles Gilman: Well in a business, you want to make sure you report it. Outside of a home, it’s going to be difficult more difficult to report because the homeowner may or may not be there. But business are where it’s certainly a lot easier to report because if you’re walking into an open business at least there’s someone there to report it to. Or hopefully, if no one is there to report it to, you can find a witness, take some pictures with your cell phone camera that everybody has nowadays. Get the time and the date that it happened and then, you know, you can put the owner on notice and if you can’t find the owner, you can always call a lawyer to help you find the lawyer and put the business on notice.
Tom: So what’s the best way to go through these steps right there, I mean, if you are hurt make sure you’re taken care of, but also make sure to get some information from the scene.
Charles Gilman: Oh absolutely, if you’re injured you want to take care of that first, but before you leave the scene, if you can snap a picture too in that couple seconds, that would be great, it’s very helpful.
Tom: There you go! Thanks for coming in, really appreciate this. Hopefully, there’s warmer weather today so we won’t have to deal with this, but John has been talking about some snow in our future, so over you to you, Jonathan.