While the idea of a shopper slipping down and injuring themselves in a store (and then suing) has become somewhat of a joke, for those who actually suffer from a slip and fall injury it is far from funny. Some retail stores are unsafe, and if you trip or slip down, you may be entitled to compensation. Retail establishments have a responsibility to keep their stores safe from hazards that could cause shoppers injuries, so read on to learn more about getting paid for your slip and fall damages.
Who is at fault? The word liability is used a lot when accidents happen, and it really means the degree of responsibility one or more parties bear for an accident. While stores must create safe shopping environment, they cannot prevent every single careless or negligent act. You, as the customer, must use due care and common sense when you are out and about. You and the store are expected to work together to ensure that no injuries occur. Liability is often determined using a percentage amount, particularly if it appears that the victim should have used more care.
For example, if the customer noted a "wet floor" sign and slipped down anyway, the store may only be responsible for 50% of accident's damages. You might expect a floor to be wet in certain situations, such as on a rainy day, and it is unrealistic to expect the store to keep the floors totally dry near the entrances. On the other hand, the store is expected to place warning cones and to do some mopping up to keep the moisture at a minimum. These cases can often come down to shared liability on both the store and the victim.
Are other customer's actions the store's responsibility? It could be, if the store created a circumstance or allowed a certain practice to proceed. For example, some stores give out free samples of food products to encourage shoppers to try new brands and items. Who can resist a free, small sample of yogurt? Unfortunately, if this container gets dropped, it creates a slippery mess on the floor and another shopper could slip down and injure themselves. While the customer who dropped the yogurt might appear to be at fault, it is actually the store's fault, since they allowed food vendors to give out those samples.
Handling an accident. Take action quickly if you are injured in a store:
- Seek medical attention and follow all doctor's orders.
- Alert the store manager of the accident and ensure that an accident report is filled out.
- Take photos of the hazard in the store (if possible) and of your injuries.
Most stores are insured, but they may only offer you a token amount of money for your damages. You need to have your medical bills covered, your lost wages reimbursed, and to be compensated for your pain and suffering. Speak to a personal injury law firm, such as Fitzsimmons & Vervaecke Law Firm, at once to get the money damages you need.