Shopping-related injuries -- such as slip and falls and back and neck injuries -- account for thousands of personal injury claims each year in the U.S. Aside from consumer overspending, most people do not think of being in any particular danger when shopping for items such as clothing, toys, electronics, and household goods. Shopping injuries, however, are more common than one would think and sometimes involve a store owner's failure to keep their premises safe, or warn of known hazards that may injure shoppers, workers and visitors.
Types of Shopping Injuries
"Shopping injuries" is a broad term used to describe personal injuries that occur while visiting a store, shopping mall, or other retail establishment. While many shopping-related injuries are minor, more serious injuries may include broken bones, sprains, head trauma, neck injury, spinal injury, and even death. Moreover, the rate of shopping injuries tends to increase during heavy shopping seasons, such as during the Christmas season, "Black Friday", and other holidays.
Types of shopping-related accidents that may occur on a store's property include:
Shopping-Related Personal Injury Claims
Individuals who are injured on commercial property, such as stores or shopping malls, may generally file personal injury claims under a state's negligence laws. Under premises liability laws, store owners must exercise reasonable care to see that a store's premises are reasonably safe from hidden dangers or hazardous conditions they have reason to believe may cause injury. For example, stores must clean up spills quickly, remove fallen objects, fix broken stairs or railings, replace dimmed light bulbs, and provide adequate security for customers.
To prove a store was legally responsible for a shoppers injuries, he or she must establish 1) the store owner knew (or should have known) about a dangerous condition on their property, 2) the store owner did not regularly inspect the store for dangers, or provided inadequate maintenance, 3) that the shopper would not have been injured if there was not a dangerous condition on the property, 4) there was a relation between the dangerous condition and the shopper's injury, and 5) that the shopper suffered actual "damages" as a result of it.
Store Owner's Defense to a Property Owners Claim
Store owners who face a personal injury claim may raise the following defenses:
Consider Legal Help If You've Been Injured While Shopping
If you've been injured while shopping on a store's premises, you should discuss your potential case with an experienced personal injury attorney. A good personal injury lawyer can help determine whether a store was at fault, which may potentially help you recover monetary damages for the injuries you've incurred. To learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of your case, talk to a personal injury attorney near you.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.