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Slip and Fall Accidents at a Retail Store

Slip and fall accidents are fairly common in retail stores. Although most don’t result in serious injuries, when they do, victims can recover compensation for damages via a premises liability claim.

Types of Slip and Fall Accidents in Retail Stores

Wet, slippery surfaces are a common reason for someone to be injured in a commercial establishment. It could be that liquid was spilled on the floor or it might have been that the floors were recently cleaned.

In both circumstances the victim must prove that the owner was negligent. For instance, the staff left the spill unattended for an unreasonable amount of time or the store manager/owner did not put up warning signs or a barricade around recently cleaned floors.

These types of cases can become complicated under certain circumstances. Let’s say someone had spilled a substance and an employee was on his/her way to clean it up. But just before getting to it, someone else slips. In the situation where a wet floor sign was posted, it is possible the person who slipped didn’t see it. These are examples where it could be more difficult to recover damages.

Other accidents occur when there is debris that causes someone to trip or fall, such as on a stairway. Missing handrails, meanwhile, could cause someone to lose his/her balance. A display case that isn’t properly secured or balanced could fall on a customer.

While there are many different circumstances in which customers are seriously injured, the ability to receive compensation is based on establishing an owner’s liability. The claimant must prove certain elements to do so.

Elements to Establishing Negligence in a Premises Liability Case

Negligence can include someone acting in a reckless or malicious manner. But even without intent to cause harm, acts of carelessness can be considered negligence. In order to show this, the claimant must prove certain factors.

One element would be that the store reasonably should have known the dangerous condition existed. Distinguishing that the store should have known about a hazard can be tricky.

For instance, let’s say a child spills water and seconds later another customer slips on it. It wouldn’t be reasonable to expect the store employees to be informed or notice the spill and post signs or clean it up in a matter of just a few seconds. But if the spill had been there for 30 minutes, it’s reasonable to expect the store employees to notice and clean it up.

A second element that could show a property owner was negligent is when the owner knew about the dangerous condition and yet didn’t take care of it. One possible way of proving this is by an employee’s acknowledgement that the store was made aware of the condition. Video surveillance could also show that the store was aware.

Claimants must also demonstrate that their injuries are related to the store’s negligence and that they suffered damages like:

  • medical bills;
  • lost wages; and
  • pain and suffering as a result.

Seek Legal Counsel for Help with a Slip and Fall Case

Because of the complex nature of this area of the law, it’s advantageous to seek legal counsel. At Bressman Law, we can help customers who wish to pursue a claim against a retail store responsible for their injuries.

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