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Injury while barefoot in a business


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#1 BarefootMichael

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:18 AM

Greetings!

I am the founder and head of an organization called The ***** I am based in the state of Missouri, though our advisory board is located in various states and countries throughout the world. We advocate for countless people throughout the world who prefer to go without shoes (i.e. barefoot), even in public. Although it is admittedly unconventional, there is a lot of scientific and medical evidence that shows that shoes can be damaging to the feet and going barefoot can be beneficial. We believe that it should be acceptable for persons in our society to go without shoes IN PUBLIC if they so choose.

There are many misconceptions and myths floating around this practice, however. Many people believe it's against health codes or illegal when it's not (except for a few specific individual venues), and it's also not illegal to drive without shoes on (except for motorcycle riders in Alabama).

Another misconception is that, if a barefoot person hurts themselves while in a business - say, a grocery store - that the store would be "liable" for the person's injuries. That's a lot of the basis for stores having policies requiring shoes of their customers. We acknowledge that stores can generally set whatever policies they'd like (short of violating civil rights law), however we would like to discuss here the issue of "liability."

We've been doing a lot of research on this and it looks as though a store's liability if a barefoot customer is injured is also largely mythical. According to your site's section "Shopping Injuries -- Overview," it appears that someone who goes barefoot into a business and gets hurt because of it would have a near impossible time suing said business. Do you agree? What do you see as the barriers a barefoot patron would face if they were to injure themselves in a business BECAUSE they were barefoot?

From what we can surmise, it seems reasonable that a business' management can avoid any concern for litigation IF they 1) inform the barefoot customer that there may be risks on the ground and 2) say that the barefoot customer takes on his/her own risk because they are going barefoot. Do you agree? If not, what would a business' management be able to say/do to relieve this concern (besides barring the barefoot patron from entering)?

Thank you for your time,
"Barefoot" Michael




[This post has been
edited to remove personal or identifying information. -Moderator]



#2 Fallen

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:39 AM

It doesn't matter whether the place would actually have a judgment handed down against them.  That's not the point.  The point is eliminating unnecessary sources of frivolous or avoidable litigation.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#3 pg1067

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 03:36 AM

BarefootMichael said...

Many people believe it's against health codes or illegal when it's not. . . .

Regardless of the law, a business can (and many businesses do) legally exclude patrons without shoes.


BarefootMichael said...

According to your site's section "Shopping Injuries -- Overview," it appears that someone who goes barefoot into a business and gets hurt because of it would have a near impossible time suing said business. Do you agree?

I have no familiarity with the publication you mentioned, but I disagree with the premise stated.  Suing is easy.  Anyone can sue anyone for anything.  All it takes is the ability to prepare a complaint and the filing fee.  If you meant to ask about the likelihood of winning, it depends on the applicable state law and the relevant facts.  It would be foolish to try and generalize about all 50 states and all possible factual scenarios except to say that a person who is injured because of his/her voluntary decision not to wear shoes is less likely to recover damages from a third person than if the person had worn shoes.


BarefootMichael said...

What do you see as the barriers a barefoot patron would face if they were to injure themselves in a business BECAUSE they were barefoot?


Contributory negligence/comparative fault/assumption of the risk.


BarefootMichael said...

From what we can surmise, it seems reasonable that a business' management can avoid any concern for litigation IF they 1) inform the barefoot customer that there may be risks on the ground

I disagree.  The "concern for litigation" always exists, and the bare possibility of risks is obvious to every person in every situation, and there is no need to warn of things that everyone knows.


BarefootMichael said...

say that the barefoot customer takes on his/her own risk because they are going barefoot. Do you agree?

Again this is obvious.  Anyone with enough intelligence to function in society knows that walking around in public without shoes creates more risk of injury than doing so with shoes.


BarefootMichael said...

what would a business' management be able to say/do to relieve this concern (besides barring the barefoot patron from entering)?


The only thing that would absolutely (almost) eliminate most concerns would be to have a signed release.




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