Stores are generally clean and safe, but sometimes owners or property managers can forget or overlook important tasks. Upkeep such as sidewalk maintenance, safety inspections, and removal of water and other slippery hazards are crucial for a property’s safety. Failure to perform reasonable maintenance and repairs may cause a store owner to be liable for your premises liability claim.
Where You’re at Risk
Slips and falls can happen anywhere. Stores where these accidents occur can include:
- Cluttered antique stores
- Grocery stores
- Shopping malls
- Gas stations
- Hardware stores
- Hospital gift shops
Premises liability claims may also originate from slips, trips, or falls in other public areas, such as concert halls, swimming pools, fitness centers, hospitals, and movie theatres.
When Can a Store Be Liable?
A store can be held liable for premises liability claims when the owner or caretaker was negligent in addressing dangerous conditions. These conditions must be proven to unreasonably threaten the safety of those on the site. In other words, those who knowingly walk into dangerous situations are not likely to receive compensation for their claims. However, individuals who were placed under particularly dangerous conditions may be able to successfully pursue a settlement. Settlements may include damages for medical treatment, medical supplies, missed time from work, pain and suffering, and more.
Negligent Conditions in Stores
Stores and property owners can be liable when their property does not offer reasonably safe conditions for patrons. Unsafe conditions may be overlooked or, in some cases, regular inspections of the property may not have been conducted prior to the accident. Hazards that result from a property owner’s negligence might include:
- Gaps, holes, tears or protrusions in the building’s flooring.
- Poor lighting or visibility.
- Wet floors without signs to indicate a safety hazard.
- Cluttered floors without a clear path to walk through.
- Uneven or cracked sidewalks.
- Slippery sidewalks due to accumulated water, snow, or ice.
If a visitor is injured due to these or other conditions, he or she may be able to file a claim against the business or its owner.
Slips, trips, and falls can occur in a variety of settings and for any number of reasons. Common injuries that can result from these accidents include:
- Broken bones
- Cuts and scrapes
- Concussions and other brain injuries
- Loss of consciousness
Other complications may occur as a result of injuries related to your fall. As such, it is best to seek immediate medical care to treat your injuries quickly. Doing so will also help you avoid additional medical costs that may weaken your claim.
Proving a Store’s Negligence
To prove that a store has been negligent, one of three factors must be present:
- The store owner produced the dangerous condition.
- The store owner knew about the hazard but did not address it or warn visitors of it.
- The store owner may not have known about the condition, but he should have known given the length of time it had been present.
If the above conditions apply to your case, you may have a premises liability claim. To get the most out of your efforts, consider:
- Photographing the surrounding area and the hazard that caused the fall.
- Seeking immediate medical attention.
- Recording the contact information for any witnesses.
- Quickly filing a report with the store owner or manager.
- Keeping a record of any expenses, time from work, and other consequences that have occurred due to the accident.
- Noting any remarks made by the property manager that may indicate that he or she knew about the hazard but failed to act.
- Avoiding making any statements regarding the incident beyond the initial report and refusing to admit fault, apologize, or otherwise indicate partial fault in the event.
- Hiring an attorney to help you navigate the case.
Seeking legal action against a business can be difficult—especially when working with limited supporting evidence. Our firm has worked with clients just like you to help them navigate the complexities of premises liability law. Contact us for a free consultation today.