Retail Store Premises Liability Injuries Claims: What You Need to Know
Retail stores are a common venue for shopping, attracting a wide range of customers daily. While most shopping trips go off without a hitch, accidents and injuries can occur on retail premises, leading to premises liability claims. Every shopper needs to be aware of injury hazards that occur in retail stores, the legal principles of premises liability, and when they should contact a personal injury lawyer to file a premise liability claim for their injuries,
Premise Liability and the Types of Retail Store Injuries
Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners and occupiers responsible for injuries that occur on their property due to negligence. In the context of retail stores, this means that store owners or managers have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for customers and take reasonable steps to prevent accidents. If they fail to do so, they may be held liable for injuries resulting from their negligence. Some of the types of premise liability injuries that occur in retail stores include:
- Slip, Trips and Falls: Slip and fall accidents are among the most common types of injuries in retail stores. They can occur due to wet or slippery floors, spilled liquids, loose rugs or mats, or even cluttered walkways. Tripping hazards, such as uneven flooring, loose tiles, or exposed cords and cables, can cause customers to trip and fall. Customers may suffer injuries such as sprained ankles, broken bones, or head injuries as a result of a slip or trip and fall incident.
- Merchandise Falling: Retail stores are filled with shelves stacked with merchandise, especially in large warehouse or box stores. If items are not securely stored or are improperly stacked, they can fall and strike customers. Falling merchandise injuries may include bruises, lacerations, or even head trauma, depending on the size and weight of the item.
- Escalator and Elevator Incidents: Malfunctions or poor maintenance of escalators and elevators within retail stores can lead to accidents. These incidents may result in injuries such as broken bones, soft tissue injuries, or entrapment injuries.
- Shopping Cart Accidents: Shopping cart accidents can happen when a cart is defective, has a malfunctioning wheel, or is overloaded. Customers pushing or using shopping carts can suffer injuries like cuts, bruises, or even broken bones if a cart overturns.
- Inadequate Security: In some cases, customers may be the victims of criminal acts like theft, assault, or robbery while in a retail store. Inadequate security measures can contribute to these incidents, leading to physical injuries, emotional distress, or property loss.
When a customer is injured while shopping due to unsafe conditions, the store owner and possibly the property owner (if the store is leased) may be liable for injuries.
What Constitutes a Premise Liability Claim Against a Retail Store?
To establish a premises liability claim in a retail store setting, the injured party (plaintiff) typically needs to prove the following elements:
- Duty of Care: The plaintiff must show that the store owner or occupier owed them a duty of care to provide a safe shopping environment.
- Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the store owner or occupier breached this duty of care by failing to address a known hazard or creating an unsafe condition.
- Causation: There must be a direct link between the breach of duty and the injuries suffered by the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the store’s negligence directly caused the injury.
- Damages: The plaintiff must have suffered actual damages, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, or property damage, due to the injury.
If these elements can be proven, injured retail customers may be eligible to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain/suffering, and other damages.
While retail stores are generally safe environments, accidents and injuries can still occur due to various factors. Understanding the types of injuries that can happen in retail settings, the legal principles of premises liability, and what you can do if you are injured can protect you against financial losses due to a retailer’s negligence. If you have been injured due to negligence in a retail setting in Georgia or Alabama, contact our team at the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown. We offer free legal consultations for personal injury cases at our Atlanta, GA, and Montgomery, AL, locations.
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