Damage Control

When it comes to protecting customers, you'd better cover all your bases.

When a customer falls on the ice in your parking lot, you know you may be liable for his or her injuries. The same goes for someone hurt when precariously stacked boxes tumble over or for someone who breaks an ankle because no one warned him or her about the slippery floor. The law expects businesses to correct any known hazards or warn customers about them. But what if one of your customers is injured in a fight with another customer? What if a crime occurs in your business's parking lot? Your potential liability in these cases may surprise you.

Steven C. Bahls, dean of Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, teaches entrepreneurship law. Freelance writer Jane Easter Bahls specializes in business and legal topics.

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Damage Control.

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