When you enter a retail store, you usually don’t think much about your safety. This is because these businesses tend to take it upon themselves to ensure that their premises are safe. After all, if they fail to exercise reasonable care to identify and correct hazardous property conditions, then they can be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
What duty of care do retail stores owe their customers?
Customers are considered invitees under the law, which means that they are afforded the highest level of protection from dangerous property conditions. This means that grocery stores, malls, and other retail establishments have a duty to reasonably inspect their premises and correct hazards in a timely fashion. They also need to take reasonable precautions in warning customers of dangerous conditions until those hazards are remedied. Therefore, customers can reasonably expect that elevators, escalators, floors, ceilings, and other parts of the building have been properly maintained.
What hazards are often seen in retail stores?
Dangerous conditions can present themselves anywhere in a retail establishment. In fact, any of the following could pose a hazard that leads to injuries and a justified legal claim:
- Torn carpet
- Loose ceiling tiles
- Spilled liquid on a slick floor
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
- Icy sidewalks
- Broken railings
- Floor mats that aren’t flat
- Poorly stacked merchandise that falls
- Improperly marked wet floors that have recently been mopped
Keep in mind that these are just some of the dangers that may present in a retail store. If you’ve been injured by one of these conditions or another dangerous property condition, then you should discuss your circumstances with an attorney of your choosing.
How do you prove your premises liability case?
To succeed on your personal injury claim, you’ll have to prove several legal elements. First, you have to show that you were, in fact, a customer at the business. This is usually pretty easy to show. After that, though, you have to prove that the property owner either knew or should have known about the hazard and they didn’t do enough to remedy the condition or warn you of it. If you can successfully show that, then you’ll need to present evidence demonstrating that your injuries were suffered as a direct result of that dangerous property condition.
One effective way to build your case is to subpoena recordings from the store’s cameras. This strategy can help you establish a timeline of when the dangerous condition was created and how long it took the property owner to identify and remedy it. You can also depose employees at the store and talk to other witnesses who can attest to the dangerous condition and the steps that were taken or not taken to warn customers and correct the issue. Don’t forget your medical records, either. After all, successfully imposing liability doesn’t mean much if you can’t prove your damages. So, be as through as you can in demonstrating the full extent of your injuries.
Have a strong legal advocate on your side
Premises liability cases can be quite valuable. That’s why retail stores oftentimes aggressively fight these claims. But you shouldn’t let the retailer and their insurance company push you around in your case. Instead, you should diligently work to build the compelling legal arguments that you need on your side to position yourself for success. If you think that you could benefit from having a strong legal advocate on your side, then now may be the time to sit down with an attorney you think is right for you to discuss your unique set of circumstances.