Stores have a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for their customers. If a store fails to fulfill this duty and a customer slips and falls while shopping, the injured party may be eligible for compensation.
How Do I Prove Liability for My Injuries?
It's important to keep in mind that sometimes an accident is considered simply unavoidable. To receive personal injury compensation, you have to establish negligence on the part of the store manager or owner.
One way to establish negligence is by providing evidence that the store knew of the dangerous condition and failed to fix it. For example, if another customer testified that the store manager was informed of a laundry detergent spill in an aisle one hour before you fell, this would show negligence in failing to promptly fix a potential safety hazard. Surveillance video of the scene of the accident before, during, and after the incident can alternatively be used as evidence to establish liability.
Stores can also be considered negligent if a hazard should have been discovered in the normal course of business. This would include slippery spills in a restroom, by the entrance, near the cash register, or in any other high traffic public area.
In some cases, violation of building codes can serve as evidence to support a slip and fall claim. For example, if the store was required to have handrails in an area and the lack of handrails contributed to the severity of your injuries, this helps prove negligence.
Stores are typically not liable for injuries if the customer failed to take reasonable care to prevent a slip and fall accident. Some examples of this would be tripping because you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, running into a large display because you were texting on your phone and not paying attention to your surroundings, or falling because you were running through the store and ignored clearly posted "Slippery When Wet" or "Wet Floor" signs.
A store's liability may also be called into question if the accident occurred when you were in an area that wasn't open to the public. For example, if you went back into the stockroom of a retail store or into the kitchen of a restaurant, the store wouldn't be held liable because it couldn't reasonably anticipate customers being in these private areas.
When Is Another Party Liable?
When you are injured in a slip and fall accident while shopping, the store owner isn't always the party responsible. If the accident takes place on the sidewalk or street outside the store, the city or municipality responsible for maintenance might be liable. If the store is renting space from a property owner and a building code violation caused your slip and fall, the property owner might be liable.
What Types of Compensation Can I Receive?
A personal injury claim resulting from a slip and fall can include compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses. This includes emergency room care and any necessary follow-up appointments, as well as the cost of pain medication, crutches or a wheelchair, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages. The store may be held liable for your lost earnings if you were unable to work because of your injuries. Earnings are verified with your past pay stubs or a detailed account of your business activities if you are self-employed.
- Pain and suffering. Considered non-economic damages, pain and suffering compensation is calculated based on a multiplier of medical expenses or as a per diem rate for each day you suffered pain due to your injuries. This category of personal injury compensation is intended to reimburse you for both the physical pain of your injuries and the emotional trauma of the experience.
What Is the Best Way to Proceed With My Case?
The store where you fell will undoubtedly have experienced attorneys handling the claim, so it's vital that you have legal representation to advocate for your needs. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault is committed to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered slip and fall injuries while shopping resolve their personal injury claims. Cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, so there is no upfront cost for representation. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.