Slip and fall accidents at shopping malls are fairly common, but these types of cases can present unique concerns when pursuing personal injury compensation. To protect your right to a fair settlement, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible.
About Shopping Mall Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents at malls can have a number of causes. For example:
- Spilled cleaning chemicals or food
- Wet floors due to rain or snow
- Improper lighting
- Lack of handrails or other building code violations
- Damaged flooring such as broken tiles or ripped carpet
- Defects in escalators such as misaligned handrails or broken entry mats
- Being pushed or shoved by other shoppers at a crowded event such as a Black Friday sale
Types of injuries victims may suffer include:
- Concussions and other forms of head injury
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Sprains and strains
- Broken bones
- Cuts and scrapes requiring stitches
Liability For Slip and Fall Injuries
It does not matter whether you were a paying customer at the time of your accident. If you were lawfully in the mall browsing or visiting with friends, you have the same right to be protected from foreseeable injury as a paying customer.
Some factors that might affect liability for a mall slip and fall accident include:
Where The Slip and Fall Accident Occurred
Accidents inside a store are often the store's responsibility, while accidents in a common area are the mall owner's responsibility.
Who Contributed To The Hazardous Condition
If the store created the hazard by not cleaning up a spill or by failing to have crowd control measures in place for a heavily attended event, the store is responsible.
Knowledge of a Potential Slip and Fall Hazard
Parties cannot be held liable for a hazard they did not know existed such as a spill that had occurred only moments before your fall.
Foreseeability of a Slip and Fall Accident
To be held liable, a party must have been able to reasonably foresee that a condition would result in a high risk of injury to mall patrons.
In most cases, either the store owner or the mall owner is liable for your injuries. However, a third party could be liable in some circumstances. For example, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the escalator if you fell because of some sort of defect that created a tripping hazard.
If you were engaged in horseplay, ignored posted warning signs, or failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent injury, you could be found partially liable for your injuries. You will still be eligible to file a personal injury claim, but your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault to reflect your responsibility for the incident.
Protecting Your Right to Compensation
If you're injured in a slip and fall, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your right to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering:
Report the Slip and Fall Incident Immediately
As soon as you are injured, the incident should be reported to mall security personnel. You should report the incident even if you believe your injuries are minor, since more serious symptoms could appear at a later date.
Attend to Your Slip and Fall Injuries
Mall security officers will have a basic first aid kit and are trained to call 911 if someone is seriously injured. If you are transported to the hospital, ask for a copy of the patient treatment report when you're discharged.
Photograph the Scene
If possible, have someone photograph the scene where the accident occurred. This evidence is particularly useful if your fall was caused by a food spill or other temporary hazard.
Get Witness Names and Contact Information
Malls have security cameras in most areas, but witness testimony can present a more accurate picture of how the accident occurred.
Make Note of What You Were Wearing
Clothing can often be relevant evidence in a slip and fall claim, especially if the insurance company tries to argue that your long dress or high heels were impractical for the occasion and directly caused your fall.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney
Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's legal team can advocate for your interests throughout the process of resolving your claim. Contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation