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I Tripped in a Store. What Should I Do?

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Retailers are legally obligated to maintain safe conditions on their properties at all times to ensure their customers are not injured while shopping. But unfortunately, some retailers fail to fulfill this legal obligation. Customers can trip over a number of things inside a retail store, including items that have fallen off of the shelves, uneven flooring, torn carpeting, and product fixtures.

An accident like this can be devastating. Many victims suffer serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and broken bones. Can these victims take legal action to recover compensation for their injuries? Who can be held accountable? Here’s what you should know if you ever find yourself in this situation:

Who is Responsible For Trip and Fall Injuries?

Every trip and fall victim should be familiar with the legal concept of premises liability. The legal concept of premises liability states that a property owner is responsible for maintaining safe conditions on their property so their guests are safe at all times. If a property owner fails to do so, they can be held accountable for injuries that occur as a result of hazardous conditions on their property.

But, it’s important to understand that the law does not automatically hold property owners liable for every injury that is sustained on their property. To hold a property owner liable, the victim must be able to prove that the property owner’s negligence directly led to their injuries. The property owner can be held liable if any of these conditions are met:

  • The property owner, or one of the property owner’s employees, knew about the hazardous condition, but did not take action to fix it.
  • The property owner, or one of the property owner’s employees, caused the hazardous condition, but did not take action to fix it.
  • The property owner did not know about the hazardous condition, but they should have known since a reasonable property owner would have been aware of it.

For example, let’s say the property owner knew that the flooring needed to be replaced because it was torn and causing customers to lose their footing. If the carpeting was still not replaced even though the property owner knew this needed to be done, the property owner can be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result of this safety hazard.

What if the Retailer Does Not Own the Property?

Retailers often rent their retail space, which means they are not the owners of the property. In this scenario, a personal injury attorney must examine the details of the case to determine if the retailer or the landlord is responsible for your injuries.

Consider the torn flooring example mentioned above. The landlord is usually responsible for replacing their tenant’s flooring when it starts to tear. If the retailer never informed the landlord that the flooring needed to be replaced, the landlord may not be liable for this hazardous condition. In this case, the liability may fall on the retailer instead. However, if the retailer had informed the landlord that the flooring needed to be replaced, but the landlord failed to replace it, the landlord would be responsible.

The retailer could also be held responsible in other situations. For example, if someone trips on an item that has fallen off of the shelves or a fixture that is placed in the middle of the walkway, this is the retailer’s fault. These hazardous conditions are not related to issues with the structure or the property itself, so the landlord is usually not held liable.

It can be challenging to determine who is liable for a trip and fall victim’s injuries. Because of this, it’s in the victim’s best interests to work with an attorney who has the legal experience and resources to handle the complexities of the case.

How to Recover Compensation After A Trip and Fall Accident

Trip and fall victims are entitled to compensation for their injuries. But, victims can only recover compensation by building a strong case against the negligent party with the help of a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will handle the majority of the work, but there is one thing you can do. Document evidence at the scene of the accident by taking photographs, asking witnesses for their contact information, and filing an accident report with the retailer. All of this evidence can be used to prove liability in your case, which is the key to recovering compensation.

It’s also important for trip and fall victims to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Seeing a doctor will ensure the injuries you sustained in the accident are officially documented. This makes it harder for the at-fault party’s insurance company to claim the injuries do not exist or were not sustained in the trip and fall accident. Be sure to keep a copy of your medical records in a safe place and follow the doctor’s orders carefully.

Finally, get in touch with a personal injury attorney right away. Choose a personal injury attorney who has experience recovering compensation for clients in trip and fall cases. Do this as soon as possible after the accident so your attorney can contact the retailer and ask for surveillance footage and other important evidence that could be destroyed in a matter of days.

Have you been injured as a result of a trip and fall accident inside a retail store? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney regarding your case. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys will immediately begin gathering evidence and building a case against the negligent property owner or retailer. Let us fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries!

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Trial by Human

Nick Rowley founded Trial by Human, a nationwide legal education course to help trial lawyers improve their skills in the courtroom by "being human".