This week, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a decision in DiPietro v. Farmington Sports Arena, LLC, regarding the liability of a business owner for injuries to patrons. In the particular case, an eleven-year old was injured while playing soccer, because her foot struck the artificial playing surface. The Connecticut Supreme Court found that the business was not at fault, outlining the standards for determining when fault may be found. A Connecticut Business Owner should be aware of the following:
- A Business Owner must keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition
- A Business Owner must warn a customer of dangers the customer could not be expected to discover
- However, the Business Owner is only at fault if it actually knows about a defect, or reasonably should have known about it (i.e. constructive knowledge), and fails to fix the problem
- A Business Owner is deemed to constructively know about a defect if they would have discovered it by exercise of "reasonable care"
- Reasonable care includes a visual inspection and keeping aware of complaints about the condition of the premises or similar products used (e.g., injuries on artificial surface at other local facilities)
- Reasonable care also includes being aware of industry standards and government regulations; even if a condition is grandfathered-in a business may be liable for injury because of that condition
- A Business Owner is not expected to conduct scientific tests if industry standards do not require such tests
- A Business Owner will be found to know about a dangerous condition if it created a reasonably foreseeable "obviously hazardous condition" (e.g., leaving slick surfaces or obstacles)
Connecticut Business Owners cannot simply turn a blind eye to a potential problem, but they also do not need to anticipate every conceivable hazard that may arise. If a claim is made, a Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer may be able to help.