Hurt in a Retail Store? What to Do Next
When you go shopping, you have the expectation that you will be reasonably safe. No one expects to be hurt in a retail store, but accidents do happen. One slip and fall can change your life in a split second. If you hit your head on the floor, you may have a concussion. If you fell the wrong way, you could have a broken bone or possibly a spinal injury. Were you reasonably safe? Or was your mishap caused by an unreasonable condition that should not have existed?
Expectation of Reasonable Safety
All stores have a legal responsibility to ensure their customers will be safe. If an establishment is open to the public, it must also maintain the premises so that it meets safety requirements. Unsafe conditions open the door for liability in the event of an injury. Liability is not always a clear-cut assumption when a person is hurt in a retail store.
When You Get Hurt in a Retail Store
One of the most common injuries sustained in retail establishments is the slip and fall. For many people, this may only be a minor inconvenience and the injury may not amount to much. For the elderly person, such an accident can have serious implications. Head injuries and broken bones are common among this group.
The burden of proof is on the injured person when it comes to making a claim, if you get hurt in a retail store. You will need to prove that your injuries were caused by a dangerous condition, and the retailer either knew about the situation or should have known about it. For example, if there was an uneven spot on the floor that should have been clearly marked and was not. If others have tripped and fallen at the same spot, the owner knew about the problem but did not correct it.
If you did not do anything to contribute to your injuries, and the dangerous condition was the sole cause, the store may be found liable. You also need to prove the injuries you sustained and damages resulting from those injuries (lost time at work, medical expenses, etc.) are real.
You will need substantial evidence to back your case. Get prompt medical attention and keep all pertinent paperwork, including receipts and doctor bills, and be sure to make the connection between the dangerous condition at the retail store and your injuries. If your injuries are severe, call 911.
Be sure to fill out an incident report. The store manager or owner should be able to provide you with one and give you a copy of the completed form. If the manager does not have the authority to give you a copy of the form, he or she should give one to the store’s insurance company. You need to get the name of the insurance company and their contact information. Give the manager your contact information so the insurance company can reach you.
If there were witnesses to your accident, get their names and contact information. Your mishap may have been seen by employees or other customers. Request a written account of what the witness saw, if the person is willing to accommodate you.
Photographic evidence is important. If you are able to do it yourself, take pictures or video the area where the accident occurred and include the dangerous condition. If you are unable to do this, ask someone to do it for you. It is also advisable to take pictures of your treatment and recovery.
If your injuries involve soft tissue and are not severe or permanent, you may be able to resolve the claim on your own. Claims involving severe or permanent injuries are best handled through an attorney. Hospitalization or extensive medical expenses can be expensive for the retailer. Their insurance company will make efforts to minimize the settlement. An attorney working on your behalf will help ensure that you receive the compensation you are due.
You can trust the years of experience, honesty, and integrity of the attorneys at Tison Law Group. Located in Tampa, FL, we serve Tampa and the surrounding communities. Contact us for a complimentary consultation to find out how we can help with your personal injury case. We are here to help in your time of need.