When you are out shopping, you don’t expect your shopping trip to end in an accident. But if business owners fail to maintain the safety of their premises, customers are vulnerable to being involved in any number of accidents. The most common of which involve slip-and-fall incidents.
In these cases, store owners may be found liable for any injuries that result from an accident if they failed to keep their property safe or alert shoppers to any potential dangers. Slip-and-fall accidents and other shopping-related incidents are generally referred to broadly as shopping injuries.
What are Shopping Injuries?
When someone sustains a shopping injury, it could include any number of injuries that happen at a mall, grocery store, or any other retailer. So-called shopping injuries can include minor bumps and bruises to broken bones and back injuries. The most common shopping-related accidents include:
- Parking lot injuries
- Shopping cart incidents
Although these kinds of injuries can happen any time customers step foot in a store, the number of these incidents significantly rises during the holiday season as shoppers flood retail establishments in large crowds. Sometimes, such a heavy influx of shoppers can result in overcrowded stores that can lead to injuries due to poor crowd control or trampling incidents.
Personal Injury Claims as a Result of Shopping Accidents
Shopping-related accidents typically fall under premise liability laws. Under these laws, businesses have a duty to ensure their premises are safe. This means doing things like cleaning up spills, removing snow and ice from parking areas, keeping aisles free of debris, and ensuring the flooring of all walkways are in good repair.
If businesses fail to do these things, they may be found negligent if an injured party files a personal injury claim. An injured shopper has the burden of proving a retail establishment’s negligence resulted in their injury. Proving legal responsibility is often difficult to do. The help of a personal injury lawyer with experience in premise liability laws is often required for injured parties to be successful in these complex claims against businesses.
To prove a business is responsible for a shopper’s injuries it must be shown that:
- The store knew or should have known about an onsite danger
- The store failed to regularly inspect and maintain their property
- The shopper would not have been injured if the dangerous condition didn’t exist
- The dangerous condition and the shopper’s injury are related
- The shopper suffered actual damages as a result (lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering)
There are a number of defenses store owners may raise in response to a premise liability case. These commonly include:
- Lack of knowledge of a dangerous condition
- There was no dangerous condition
- The danger was obvious and, as such, avoidable
- The customer was negligent
If you are injured while on a shopping trip, proving the store was negligent can be difficult to do. Documenting the cause of your accident and immediately seeking medical treatment for the injuries you sustained can help establish a personal injury claim. Always consult with experienced compensation lawyers who can advise you on whether or not a negligence claim exists and if you can ultimately recover compensation from the store owner.