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When you cannot fix an unsafe situation right away

Property owners in Kansas City have the responsibility of maintaining a safe location, so if you find a place on your property that poses a danger, it needs to be fixed for the safety of anyone who should visit your property. However, some unsafe situations cannot be rectified immediately, which places the property owner in an awkward situation. If the owner cannot stop people from entering the hazardous area, the owner could be held liable if someone gets hurt.

According to Forbes, in the event an area presents a hazard or danger and cannot be fixed right away, a property owner needs to put up a warning sign. This is a stopgap measure until the owner can bring in a worker or a contractor to have the area fixed or secured. For instance, when coffee is spilled on a store floor, usually a wet floor placard will be erected until a janitor can finish mopping the mess up.

However, putting up a warning sign is not a guarantee that the owner will not be held liable if someone gets hurt. If the sign is not placed in a location where it can be easily seen, an unsuspecting pedestrian may not spot it and could walk right into the hazardous location. Signs should also be conspicuous even if placed in the open, which is why many signs are yellow, since yellow is a bright color that is more likely to catch the human eye.

FindLaw points out that other factors can lead to an owner being held liable in spite of the presence of a warning sign. A sign that warns people not to enter may not be sufficient if the property contains an attractive nuisance that can draw in trespassers, especially children, who end up getting hurt regardless of the posted warning. In addition, some warning signs might not convey sufficient information to pedestrians about artificial conditions that can inflict injury.

Furthermore, some situations may be potentially dangerous enough that extra steps should be taken to keep pedestrians away beyond simply posting a warning sign. Property owners could reinforce a warning sign by putting up caution tape to the entrance to the afflicted area or around it. Caution tape, in addition to being clearly visible, creates a barrier to entry that minimizes the risk of someone getting hurt.

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McShane & Brady, LLC
1656 Washington St
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