What Happens When You Are Injured in a Store? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

As top premises liability lawyers in Orange County, we specialize in helping injury victims secure the compensation they need to recover—and holding negligent parties accountable. Need legal help now? Contact us online to schedule a free consultation

As an invited guest on someone’s property, you deserve to be safe—at the very least. 

If you encountered unexpected hazards while visiting a public business or store, you’re probably feeling pretty frustrated. This is especially true if you suffered physical harm. In the event that you sustained serious injuries, you could be facing significant losses.

In addition to physical pain, you may be dealing with lost wages from missed work and mounting medical bills. You may even be facing permanent disability and years of physical therapy. Who’s going to pay for all of that, especially if you lose your job?

If your accident was caused by a store owner or manager’s negligence, they should foot the bill for your recovery. However, convincing them to do so without legal representation is unlikely. Luckily, the Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer at Case Barnett Law is here to help. 

Ready to learn more about what happens when you are injured in a store? This article will outline everything you need to know. 

Are you suffering physical injuries and financial hardships after a store accident? There’s no time to waste—contact an experienced premises liability lawyer in Orange County to protect your future. Call (949) 409-0055 to schedule a free case evaluation today.

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What Is Premises Liability? 

Simply put, premises liability is a legal concept that says that the property owner or manager can be held liable for injuries that happen on their property. As with most personal injury cases, premises liability claims are based on negligence.

It’s important to note that just because you were injured on someone’s property doesn’t mean you have grounds for a lawsuit. To win a premises liability case, you must prove that the owner failed to exercise reasonable care in the ownership or maintenance of their property. In other words, they failed to maintain a safe environment, free from hazards and dangers. 

In addition to proving an unsafe environment, you may also need to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the unsafe conditions and chose not to act. 

Types of Premises Liability Cases

Rather than referring to just one type of accident, premises liability is an umbrella term that applies to many personal injury cases. Here are some of the most common types: 

  • Slip-and-fall cases
  • Defective conditions on the premises
  • Inadequate maintenance of premises (such as broken stairs)
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Fires
  • Inadequate security
  • Snowy or icy sidewalks
  • Flooding
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Restaurant liability
  • Retail store liability

These are just some of the scenarios in which injury victims may be able to pursue a lawsuit. In most cases, injuries that happen in a store fall under the subcategory of retail store liability.

Proving Retail Store Liability

As high-traffic businesses, retail stores must always be on the lookout for potential dangers. The property owner or manager has a responsibility to keep the store in reasonably safe condition and eliminate any hazards they encounter. 

For a retailer to be held liable for a customer’s injuries, the injury victim generally needs to prove at least one of the following: 

  1. The retailer created the hazard that caused their injury.
  2. The retailer knew about the dangerous condition that caused their injury but failed to act.
  3. The retailer should have known about a hazardous condition and didn’t take steps to avoid it. 

All of these situations can be difficult to substantiate, especially the third one. To prove it, a plaintiff needs to show the court that the condition that caused their injury was present long enough that the store should have discovered and fixed it. 

Common Causes of Retail Store Injuries

When most people think about injuries that happen in stores, their minds go to slip-and-fall accidents, people slipping on puddles of liquid on the floor. However, there are numerous ways that a retailer’s negligence can end up causing a serious injury, including the following: 

  • Debris-cluttered aisles
  • Falling merchandise
  • Broken and sharp shelving
  • Broken or missing handrails
  • Malfunctioning elevators or escalators
  • Poor lighting, especially in stairwells and parking lots
  • Poorly maintained sidewalks

Several different scenarios can precipitate these scenarios. For example, a store owner may fail to properly staff their store in an attempt to save money on wages, meaning that their employees are too busy to notice and remedy potential hazards. Or, a store manager may neglect to order wet floor signs that are meant to warn customers of slick conditions. 

Steps to Take after You Are Injured in a Store

Regardless of accident type, injury victims should consider taking a few simple steps in the direct aftermath of an accident. Taking the following actions can help protect their future and bolster their case, should they decide to file a lawsuit: 

  1. Ensure your physical health and safety. Whether it’s a car accident, a slip-and-fall accident or something else, injury victims should always put their health and safety first. That means scanning their bodies for serious injuries and calling 911 if necessary. Even when injury victims don’t think they’ve sustained serious physical injuries, it’s important to seek medical care after leaving the store.
  2. Gather evidence at the scene. It’s important for injury victims to note their environment and the factors that led to their injury. If you find yourself injured at the store and don’t need emergency medical care, try to take pictures, make mental notes and talk to workers and customers who saw what happened. 
  3. Contact a premises liability attorney. The thing about injuries is that they don’t always appear right away, and you don’t always know how they’ll develop. You may end up needing surgery, physical therapy or even in-home care. And, like it or not, you’ll likely be footing the bill for your treatments unless you seek compensation from the negligent party. 

Even if you end up not pursuing a lawsuit, it’s important to explore that option with a legal professional. In doing so, you can help ensure that you have the resources you need to finance your recovery. 

Case C. Barnett
Costa Mesa Personal Injury Attorney practicing in child injury law, car accident injuries and elder abuse law
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