When the unexpected happens and you suddenly find yourself injured while shopping in a retail store, your first thought is likely your health. After you've seen to that, however, consider taking steps to make sure that the store compensates you for your injuries. Retail establishments are obligated to provide a safe environment for its customers, and if your accident occurred as a result of negligent conditions in that environment you may have a right to money damages and medical expenses. Read on to learn more about how the stores you shop in could be held liable for your injuries.
Stores Must Warn of Dangers
While it may be impossible for a store to follow people around to ensure their safety while shopping, they are responsible for making sure that any potential dangers are guarded against and for ensuring that any unsafe conditions are addressed in a timely manner. For example, ice and snow at a store's entrance should be noted by store personnel as soon as possible and customers should be warned about the danger with a caution cone until it can be cleared. Slip and falls on wet, icy surfaces can cause serious injuries to unsuspecting customers.
Going even further, stores may be responsible for the unsafe actions of other customers if the store itself contributed to the hazard. For example, stores that have snack bars or coffee shops are responsible for ensuring that a spill caused by the careless shopper dropping a latte onto the floor is addressed quickly before a slip and fall occurs.
Other common shopping hazards include:
Floors that are uneven or slippery (trips, slips and falls).
Wrinkled mats or rugs (trips and falls).
Electrical cords that snake across isles (trips and falls, electrical shock).
Parking lots with sparse lighting (which can cause not only falls but criminal activity as well).
Large stacked displays in grocery stores (bodily injuries).
Using Due Care
It should be noted that customers do have a responsibility to use be careful when shopping. A personal injury claim is evaluated, among other things, by noting what percentage of fault the business possesses (known as liability) for any given incident. The court will look at whether or not you should have known about the hazard and how you might have avoided it in awarding damages.
Consult with an auto accident attorney if you have been the victim of a store's negligence and wish to seek damages.