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June 3, 2016

Store Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident

fall in a store

Any store that welcomes customers onto the property has a duty to keep them reasonably safe. An “unreasonable” condition that contributes to a fall can lead to an injury claim against the store.  Whether it’s a “big box” nationwide chain, a grocery chain or a local independent retailer, any business that invites the public onto its premises is obligated to take certain steps to keep customers out of harm’s way. Customers who are injured in slip and fall accidents on store premises may have a valid legal claim against the business.

Duty to Maintain Safe Premises

Like all businesses that open themselves up to the public, stores are legally obligated to maintain reasonably safe premises[1] for the protection of their customers. When a slip and fall accident happens at a department store, grocery store, or even a local “mom and pop”, the business may be liable for injuries if it can be shown that the slip and fall occurred due to unsafe conditions on the property. The store’s responsibility for compensating a customer who slipped and fell usually depends on the specific facts of the particular accident, but there are a few common conditions that lead to slip and fall accidents in stores.

Common In-Store Slip and Fall Accidents

Injuries from slip and falls at a store can happen for a variety of reasons. A customer might fall on in the entry way of the store or could trip over an errant floor mat. Items on display might be haphazardly placed and can fall in the pathway of a customer. The store might have poor lighting leading to poor visibility, or a prior customer’s spilled beverage could have left a puddle in an aisle. The possibilities are endless, but regardless of the cause of the slip and fall accident, the legal responsibility of the store will depend on whether it had, or should have reasonably had, notice of the unsafe condition and failed to take prompt action to fix the problem.

Holding the Store Liable for Damages

A store can be responsible for unsafe conditions under a few different legal theories. The store owner may be liable if it created the unsafe condition, by using a slippery clearer on the floors for example.  The owner may also be liable if it knew of the condition, even if it did not create it, but failed to take steps to remedy it. For instance, if one customer spills a drink in an aisle, and another customer injures her back after slipping on the puddle and falling on the floor, the store may be liable for the injury. In that circumstance, the injured person will have to show some evidence that the store knew or should have reasonably known of the condition. There must be some evidence that the spill sat there long enough for the store to have become aware of its presence and have a reasonable opportunity to clean it up and prevent an accident. The injured party may also demonstrate that the store knew or should have known that spilled products were common, but failed to have a system in place for monitoring and cleaning up such spills.

What Should You do After a Slip and Fall Accident at a Store?

After your slip and fall accident in a store, it is important to record everything that happened immediately while it is fresh in your mind:

  • Take photos of the area
  • Note any warning signs, conditions of the floor, conditions of the products or aisles near you and any other factor that contributed to the slip and fall
  • Get the names and contact information of witnesses to the incident
  • Write down the names of every store employee who spoke to you
  • Write down all of the facts as soon as you are able to do so.

Representatives and employees from the store will not help you on this matter.  You need to take matters into your own hands when gathering the evidence necessary to prove the business was at fault for your slip and fall accident so that you can review all of the information with a Philadelphia slip and fall accident attorney as soon a possible.

Contact a Philadelphia Slip and Fall Accident Attorney

At the Levin Firm, our team of highly skilled slip and fall accident attorneys can review your case and obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive for injuries as well as lost wages and other damages. Please call 215-825-5183 to schedule a free consultation today or call our toll free number at 877-825-8542.

References

[1] https://govt.westlaw.com/pac/Document/N1BD052C03EC111DCB090E72F2BA450B5?viewType=FullText&originationContext=documenttoc&transitionType=CategoryPageItem&contextData=(sc.Default)&bhcp=1

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