When you enter a retail establishment, you don’t expect to be injured or carried out the doors by an emergency medical team. Businesses that invite the public onto their premises for any reason have a legal responsibility to keep them reasonably safe from harm. If you slip, fall, and are injured in a store or other retail business, who is responsible for your losses?
Whether you were injured at a big box store, a grocery chain, or a mom and pop retailer, any business that is open to the public has an obligation to take certain steps to keep visitors out of harm’s way. Customers who are injured in a slip and fall accident may have a legal claim for damages in a premises liability case, but these are not as simple to prove as they were in the past.
Duty to Maintain a Safe Premise
When a customer visits a retail business, there is an expectation that the manager or owner of that business will furnish a premise that is reasonably safe. When there is a violation of this duty, the business may discover that it is financially liable for any injuries and other damages to its guests or patrons.
A few examples of premises liability slip and fall claims that could result from a retail business include:
- Wet floors. A leak or spill that either isn’t clearly marked or promptly cleaned up is a major hazard and one of the leading causes of slip and fall accidents in grocery stores.
- Torn carpeting. A piece of uneven/damaged flooring or torn carpet can cause someone to trip and fall, which could lead to serious injuries and a lawsuit.
- Poor lighting. When there is a broken light fixture that has been ignored or just poor lighting in general, someone could slip or trip and fall when they are unable to see hazards.
Dangerous obstacles or obstructions in walkways, missing or loose handrails on stairs, and many other hazards can also cause harm to customers.
Holding the Store Liable for Your Damages
Slip and fall injuries can lead to serious and life-altering injuries that impact victims physically, emotionally, and financially. Common slip and fall injuries include head injuries, spinal cord injuries, sprains and fractures, and soft tissue injuries. The CDC reports that falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which could require a lifetime of medical care.
In a slip and fall case, you may be able to hold either the store owner or the property owner responsible for your losses. If the store owner created an unsafe condition, such as a slippery floor, they could be at fault. The store owner could also be held responsible if they knew about the dangerous condition, even if they didn’t create it, and did not take any steps to fix it.
As the injured party, you may also have to prove that the condition was not so obvious that you should have avoided walking into the area. For example, if you saw that there was a puddle in the middle of the floor and walked through it anyway, you may have difficulty proving fault. In other words, the law requires that you also use some degree of caution to protect yourself from harm.
Evidence Will Be Vital in Proving Your Case
In a perfect world, a business would immediately take responsibility for the injuries and damages resulting from a slip and fall on their premises. Unfortunately, there has been a rash of staged accidents by fraudsters who only want to access the deep pockets of these companies and their insurance carriers. These false claims have made the road tougher for people who have legitimate injuries and losses.
If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident that took place in a retail store, you have the right to make a claim for your damages. At Burge & Burge, PC, our experienced Alabama premises liability attorneys will gather the evidence necessary to prove your case and advocate for your rights. We will advise you of your options and fight for the full and fair compensation you need and deserve.
Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-251-9000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.