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What Happens When Someone Accidentally Slips in a Store and Hurts Themselves?

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 8 minutes

What Happens When Someone Accidentally Slips in a Store and Hurts Themselves?

When a customer slips, trips, or falls and gets an injury in a parking lot or store, there is a potential legal claim. Under the law, that injured shopper may be entitled to sue and recover significant damages.

But how does a personal injury claim work? Let’s take a closer look.

Is a Store Liable for a Customer Injury? If I Slip in a Store, Can I Sue?

Store Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident

Property owners and proprietors, or store operators like landlords, have a legal responsibility to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for patrons. If the establishment is unsafe in any way and contributes to you getting hurt, then you have a right to sue and recover damages for injuries. One example of this is a slip and fall injury from a wet floor in a grocery store.

The right to sue and recover after an accident applies in every jurisdiction in the United States. Though state laws may vary somewhat, the fundamental principles of slip and fall cases are the same.

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents That Could Also Be Examples of Store Negligence

Slip and fall accidents happen due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Liquid spills with no sign warning, like wet floors
  • Traction less, smooth flooring
  • Defective flooring, like broken tiles and so forth
  • Failure to install railings
  • And more

Such conditions can significantly increase the risk of bodily injury or personal injury due to a slip and fall. If you encounter any of these, the store owner or property operator may be at fault for failing to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, also known as premises liability.

When Is a Business Liable for the Harm of a Customer?

Awareness of the Safety Issue

In slip and fall cases, the company or store owner may try to avoid premises liability and argue that they were unaware of the slip and fall hazard. In other words, they could argue that they had no reason to believe that there was any danger.

Your attorney can counter this defense argument by showing that the defendant either “was” actually aware, or “should have been” aware of the hazard. Property owners and property operators, for example, a landlord, have a responsibility to conduct regular inspections of the premises. In doing so, they discover that there is a hazard. Once they discover the hazard, they can either fix it, or put up a warning sign to prevent shoppers from getting injured.

The frequency of inspection varies from store to store, depending on the industry. For example, a grocery store has to be inspected more frequently than a furniture department store. Failure to inspect frequently enough to discover the hazard before a visitor is harmed can give rise to liability, and it’s also negligence.

In store negligence cases, determining what happens if you slip and fall in a store hinges significantly on whether the store was aware of, or should have been aware of, hazardous conditions leading to accidents occurring.

For instance, poor lighting in an aisle can obscure a spill or an uneven surface, significantly increasing the risk of a fall. In such scenarios, if an accident occurs due to this lack of visibility, the store could be held liable for not maintaining safe conditions.

These cases often revolve around whether a reasonable effort to identify and rectify such hazardous conditions was made. If a store fails to conduct regular checks or ignores reports of potential dangers, such as poor lighting or spills, they can be found negligent. 

The key factor in these incidents is the store’s knowledge and response to the unsafe conditions. If it is proven that the store was aware, or reasonably should have been aware, of the hazard and did not take appropriate action, they can be held responsible for any injuries sustained as a result of their negligence.

What Are the Elements of Vicarious Liability?

Suppose that one of the store employees failed to conduct a proper inspection, and that’s why the floor was wet and wasn’t cleaned. In turn, the spill caused you to slip and fall and you hurt yourself.

In this example, the employee is technically at-fault, because they committed negligence. However, the store can also be held liable, due to vicarious liability.

Thanks to vicarious liability law, an injured plaintiff can sue an employer for the negligence of their employee. In the case of the wet floor, the employee was negligent in inspecting the premises. Though it isn’t technically the store’s fault that you slipped and fell, they can be held legally responsible for your injuries and the negligence of their worker.

What Happens If You Hurt Yourself in a Store?

What To Do If You Are Injured in a Store

After a slip and fall accident, you may be confused about what to do next. Don’t worry; it’s actually quite simple. Here are the steps to take after an accident:

If needed, call 911 and seek medical attention right away. Then contact an experienced slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. They will first evaluate your case. If it makes sense to move forward, they will work with you to gather evidence, develop an argument, and push for a positive resolution, like compensation.

Gather and preserve evidence. If possible, take photos of the accident scene, and keep copies of all documentation that is associated with the accident. An example of this is a police report.

Avoid negotiating a settlement with the store or its insurance company without the help of an attorney. They will attempt to undercut your claim and minimize their overall damages.

Can You Sue a Store for Injuries Caused by a Slip, Trip or Fall?

What happens if you are injured in a store? If you’ve been injured in a slip, trip, or fall accident, then you could be entitled to significant damages as compensation. At times, the law is confusing and overwhelming, and this is especially true for first time plaintiffs who have no experience of the litigation process. We’re here to help.

If you’re injured in a store due to a slip, trip, or fall, it’s essential to understand your legal rights. Retail store negligence settlements often cover a range of compensations, including for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. When you are injured in a store, the law looks at whether the store or store manager neglected their duty of care in maintaining a safe environment.

This duty of care means that the store must keep the premises free from dangerous conditions that could cause harm, such as wet floors without warning signs or uneven flooring. If these conditions cause an accident, the injured party can sue the store for negligence.

For example, if you slip in a store and sustain injuries, you can potentially sue for compensation. This compensation is not just for medical expenses but can also include pain and suffering caused by the injury, any lost wages due to the inability to work, and other related costs. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand the specifics of your case and guide you through the legal process.

They will work to prove that the store’s negligence led to the dangerous condition which caused your injury. The lawyer will also negotiate with the store’s insurance company on your behalf to ensure you receive a fair settlement that covers all your damages.

Sustaining an injury in a store due to negligence can lead to a legal claim against the store. It’s important to document the incident, report it to the store manager immediately, and seek legal advice to understand your rights and the potential for a retail store negligence settlement. A personal injury lawyer will be instrumental in guiding you through the process, representing your interests, and helping you recover the compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering, and other losses.

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a Free Consultation and to Speak With a Qualified Slip and Fall Attorney Near You.

Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with an experienced slip and fall accident attorney in our network. There’s no cost, and no commitment. If you decide that you’d rather not move forward with your case, that’s ok!

So get in touch today and we’ll connect you in just 10 minutes or less. Get a legal team working on your side.

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