Do you know what happens when you are injured in a store? If you have never had a slip and fall accident, you probably do not know what to do if something happens while you are shopping. These accidents, unfortunately, happen every single day in Florida and around the country. You never know when you could come across unsafe conditions—even if the hazard is a simple puddle of milk on grocery store linoleum, a slip and fall can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering.
You must be prepared for anything, and that means knowing what happens when you’re injured in a store. Here are a few things you should know in case it happens to you.
Obligation to Maintain a Safe Premises
When a store is open to the public, it is obligated to keep the premises safe for patrons. If the store does not adequately maintain the premises, anyone who is injured may have cause to file a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries.
Injuries that are a result of the negligence of the store can be serious, leading to long recovery times, costly hospital bills, and even permanent pain. What happens when you’re injured in a store largely depends on your ability to prove the store’s negligence.
Proving negligence is often a complicated process. To prove your case, you will need evidence, often in the form of witness testimony, photographic or video evidence, and official documents, like a police report. If you want to give your personal injury case a chance, you must gather as much evidence as possible.
But what do you do if you are too hurt to get the evidence yourself? In the event you cannot get the evidence yourself, ask someone you trust to act on your behalf. In some instances, you may not be able to recover any evidence. When that happens, you will need an experienced attorney to handle your case.
Avoid Talking to Anyone Besides Witnesses and Medical Personnel
Another consideration to be aware of is who you talk to after an accident. No matter how small your injury seems, you should speak to the owner to report the injury — they are responsible for filing an incident report. But be careful to avoid talking to them more than necessary. Do not assign blame to them or accept responsibility for your accident. If you make any admissions of guilt in your report, this may be used against you later on.
If they ask you questions about the cause of your accident, do not answer. It is important that you stick to the verifiable facts and do not engage in speculation.
Ask to read the incident report to ensure that no false information has been included. Remember to request a copy of this report for your records as well.
Be sure to get the store’s insurance information. At the very least, ask for the name of their insurance company. This information will be useful if you need to get in touch later on.
Additionally, avoid posting anything about your accident on social media. Do not give any statements to insurance until you have a chance to speak to an attorney about your options.
If you can do all of this, you can ensure your case has a chance of settling to cover your damages.
Ask Witnesses for Their Account of Events
It is equally important to talk to the right people as it is to avoid talking to the wrong ones. Be sure to speak to bystanders or witnesses to your accident. If anyone stopped to help you, they may be helpful to speak with. Ideally, you should ask them to write down what they saw. Have them sign and date this statement of events so you have a record of when you spoke to them. You may also be able to use this statement in your legal matters.
Additionally, get each person’s contact information in case you need to reach them at a later date.
Common Causes of Retail Store Negligence Injuries
If you’re an avid shopper, you know that the last thing you want to deal with is getting hurt due to retail store negligence. However, if you’ve ever shopped in a retail store, you know that sometimes things can go wrong. Whether it’s a product placed precariously on a shelf or a careless clerk who forgot to put out a wet floor sign when mopping the floor, there are plenty of chances for accidents.
Here are some typical reasons for retail store negligence and what happens when you are injured in a store:
If someone trips and falls, they could sustain serious injuries. These surfaces can also be hazardous to people walking or picking up items. In addition, when some types of liquids are spilled on the floor, they can cause severe health problems if breathed in, ingested, or in contact with skin.
Retail stores are often crowded and full of merchandise. This can lead to inventory falling from overhead shelves.
Retailers are responsible for ensuring all store materials are safe and properly handled. This includes debris left in store aisles, such as boxes and packaging. Unfortunately, these hazard may lead to slip and fall injuries.
Injuries from contact with hazardous materials
Products containing dangerous materials, such as bleach and paint, can contaminate hands and clothing. Contact with these materials can result in skin burns, chemical burns, and more severe injuries.
Broken or missing handrails on stairways or other passageways
One of the most common causes of retail store injuries is when people fall on stairs or other passages. Often, these stairways or corridors are missing handrails. This makes it easy for people to fall and injure themselves.
Poor lighting in parking lots or stairwells
Store fixtures can create unsafe conditions in parking lots and stairwells. They create shadows that can make it difficult to see. Furthermore, store fixtures may have low light levels, making it hard to see things such as obstacles in the path.
Malfunctioning shopping carts
Broken wheels are the most common cause of malfunctioning shopping carts. Broken wheels can cause the cart to become unstable, leading to injuries.
How to Protect Yourself Against Negligence Injuries
Here are some tips to help protect yourself from injury:
- Ask a salesperson for help.
- Follow the safety guidelines that are posted in the store.
- When shopping, keep an eye out for potential hazards around you, such as sharp edges or moving objects. If something looks dangerous, avoid it and call for help if necessary.
- If something does happen and you end up injured, remember to call 911, have someone take pictures of the scene, and don’t hesitate to ask for help from the staff at the store.
Is a Store Liable for a Customer Injury?
Is a store liable for a customer injury? The store can be liable if you are a customer injured in a store. The law requires that stores take reasonable measures to protect customers from dangerous conditions. This includes warning customers about potential dangers, maintaining safety equipment, and ensuring that employees are trained in safety procedures. If a store fails to take these precautions, it may be liable for your injuries.
Injury-Related Expenses Eligible for Compensation
If you are injured in a store or parking lot, check the legality of your claims. If you decide to pursue a personal injury case, some laws can help. If you are injured at a store, the store owner will have to pay for your damages and expenses. You can earn awards such as these:
- The medical costs related to having your injuries treated
- The loss of your source of income if your injuries stop you from working
- Pain and suffering from your injuries
Other expenses you incurred during the accident can be awarded, too. For example, our attorney can examine the documentation that proves medical treatment and additional costs related to the accident.
Examples of Store Negligence
If you were injured by an item that fell from shelves or shelves at the store location, you might feel entitled to compensation for your injuries. In some cases, the store may be liable for your injury. According to Chapter 768 of Florida Statutes, stores may hold liability.
- A floor spill that the management neglected to clean up that led to a slip and fall incident.
- An attack in the parking lot of a business whose management was aware of prior criminal behavior there.
- Unsafe parking that creates hazards for store visitors.
- The accidental overturning of a shelf or other display case or an injury brought on by objects falling off a rack or display.
Other causes of injuries can include negligence, as spelled out in Florida’s Theft, Robbery, and Related Crimes Statute 812.173. Talking to a lawyer can help you determine the cause of your injuries and what consequences may follow for the store.
File Your Compensation Claim on Time
Your state’s law will determine when you have to file a lawsuit for your injuries. A statute of limitations is a time restriction that controls when your case may be filed. For example, the statute of limitations for injury cases in Florida is four years, per Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a).
In addition, Florida law allows the right to pursue wrongful death claims two years after the deceased’s date of death. Therefore, consulting with a lawyer as soon as possible can help assure that your lawsuit will be filed on time. Waiting too long to file your case risks its viability.
Essential Steps Following an Injury in a Store
If you are injured in a retail accident, seek medical treatment immediately. You should use an ambulance to get necessary emergency care and follow up with your doctor as recommended.
If you are injured, the first thing to do is have medical treatment. After that, you can try contacting an insurance company or filing a lawsuit:
- Get copies of incidents or police reports to help build a legal case.
- Get copies of your medical records and bills that prove the extent of your injuries.
- Create copies of employment records and proof of salary to show how much time you’re missing from work.
What Happens When You Are Injured in a Store and You Don’t Have an Attorney?
Have you fallen in a store and injured yourself? Do not wait any longer to get in contact with us. At RRBH Law, we are experts in the area of slip and fall injuries. We will do everything in our power to get you a positive outcome.