Who’s Considered Liable for a Slip and Fall Injury at a Shopping Center?
When you go shopping at your favorite store, the last thing on your mind is being involved in a mishap. Doesn’t matter which store you visit, whether it’s a local grocer or a national supermarket chain, it’s the business owners responsibility to make sure that the customers who walk into the store are reasonably safe.
You might be tempted to think that it’s not so much a common occurrence. And some of you might be under the impression that these accidents happen only during big sale events like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Here are some eye-opening facts:
- In the 4 year period between 2008-2012, over 100,000 kids below the age of 5 were injured by the shopping carts and were taken to the emergency room for treatment.
- In the year 2013 10 people were injured in a California mall when part of the food court ceiling came crashing down.
- In a Massachusetts mall, a person reportedly died of carbon monoxide leak and another 27 were severely injured.
In addition, there are various accidents that you must have heard about, especially during Black Friday promotions. According to the website http://blackfridaydeathcount.com/, there has been 10 deaths and 111 injuries since 2006 all across the United States.
If you are injured within the premises of a store you are entitled to a legal claim against the business. This is because businesses were people are welcome are obligated to keep their premises safe for visitors.
Visitors could get hurt at the business premises either due to a slip and fall injury where there weren’t visible warning signs or tripping over equipment that shouldn’t have been on the floor in the first place. If the stores don’t act responsibly and it causes injury to the people who visit, they are liable for those injuries.
There could be various other hazards that could lead to injuries like snow accumulation on the entryway, inventory stacked haphazardly that could tip over, improper ventilation, improper lighting and many more. It’s understood that there could be numerous things that could go wrong. Whether the store is found guilty would depend on whether the store knew about the unsafe conditions and took steps to prevent.
Here are a couple of famous verdicts that were awarded to the victim in an in-store injury case:
The Lowe’s case: A customer was severely injured while standing in the checkout queue. An employee driving a forklift ran into him from behind. This happened at Lowe’s Home and Garden Center in West Melbourne, Florida. The injuries were mostly orthopedic in nature and Lowe’s had to pay him $600,000 to settle.
The Walmart case: Recently the national retail giant Walmart was asked to pay $7.5 million to a man from Alabama who tripped while buying watermelon. The person broke his hip while he tripped over the palette on which the watermelons were resting. A jury awarded $2.5 million in compensation and $5 million in punitive damages.
Personal injury cases like these can be pretty complicated, that require gathering evidence and witness testimonials. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate a case like this, so you don’t have to deal with the complications.
In what instances are the store or store owners liable?
- If they created an unsafe condition for visitors. For example by waxing the floor making it too slippery to walk.
- If they knew about a condition that could potentially injure someone but didn’t take measures to fix it.
In either of the cases, there should be evidence that proves beyond reasonable doubt that the store was guilty. The evidence should point that the business was aware of the condition and it was either a reoccurrence or the condition existed long enough for them to have taken notice.
The injured party will also have to prove that the cause of the accident was not obvious and that it could not have been avoided easily.
The amount of compensation would depend on the number of injuries sustained and their severity, the cost of treatment and also whether the store should have taken steps to mitigate the cause of the accident.
If you’ve been a victim of a slip and fall accident at a place of business, you will require the team of experienced lawyers from The Law Offices of Craig Altman by your side to bring the perpetrator to justice. The evidence and the reasoning to back your case should be air tight for you to have a chance to receive the right amount of compensation. Give us a call at (215-569-4488) to find out how we can help you out during these troubled times.