Slip and Fall: What is the Liability of the Store?
When you go to buy groceries or shop at the mall, falling and hurting yourself is probably the last thing on your mind. That is because store and mall owners, like all people who own public property, have an obligation to prevent avoidable accidents from occurring. If you injure yourself in a slip and fall accident, you could have a valid claim against the property owner if you can prove that he or she failed in the duty to keep you reasonably safe.
Common Accidents Among Customers Visiting a Store
The entranceway to a grocery store, mall, or independent shop can become slippery with snow and ice in the winter, which happens to be a common cause of people slipping and hurting themselves. It is the duty of the property owner to clear all obstacles from any entrance into the building, including those caused by weather. Other common causes of injuries among customers, suppliers, and vendors who visit stores include:
- Tripping over a floor mat or loose carpeting
- Being struck by a falling object such as canned food or a mannequin
- Tripping over something in an aisle that should not have been there
- Slipping on a spilled substance such as a cup of coffee from another customer that the store employees failed to wipe up in time
- Poor lighting causing the visitor to slip and fall when he or she normally wouldn’t have
These represent just a handful of situations that could cause injury in a public shopping place. If you or a close family member have sustained serious injuries due to a slip and fall accident in a store, you may be wondering if you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner. The answer depends on whether he or she knew about the danger and failed to correct it. Kentucky law also allows injured people to sue in this situation if the store owner reasonably should have realized the possible danger but ignored it.
Customers Must Use Reasonable Caution to Protect Themselves
When shopping at a store, you come to expect large displays in the middle of an aisle and other things of that nature. Therefore, the law expects you to pay attention to your surroundings and use caution to avoid injuring yourself on public property. The same principal applies here that applies to the store owner. If a reasonable person would have avoided a slip and fall accident in the same situation due to perceiving the potential problem and avoiding it, you may not be able to collect any damages.
You Bear the Burden to Prove Store Owner Liability
Even when you feel certain that the store owner or employees acted in a negligent manner, you must demonstrate a direct relationship between their actions and your subsequent injuries. You also need to prove that you didn’t cause the accident yourself. This is when you benefit from hiring an experienced personal injury attorney like those at Davis & Haymond, P.S.C. Some important questions to consider include:
- Was the obstacle or hazardous condition present long enough for a store employee to eliminate it?
- Would a warning sign or preventing access to a certain area helped you avoid an injury?
- Can the property owner produce evidence that he or she regularly inspects the store for potential dangers and fixes them promptly?
- Can the property owner justify creating the situation that led to your slip and fall accident?
- Did you fall due to limited visibility or poor lighting?
Keep in mind that Kentucky is a comparative negligence state. That means a judge may reduce any reward you receive by the percentage of fault that you contributed to your accident.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with Davis & Haymond
The personal injury attorneys at Davis & Haymond have many years of experience helping people in your situation recover compensation for serious injuries caused by others. Please contact your nearest office to request a free and confidential review of your case. We maintain offices in Richmond at 859-624-3380, Irvine at 606-726-9991, and McKee at 606-287-4890.