Slips and Falls in Retail Stores and Businesses
The day starts out like any other Saturday—you’ve finished breakfast with a few friends and decide to go shopping. You’re walking through a retail shop and the next thing you know, you’re flat on your back, looking up at the ceiling while you friends hover over you with concerned faces.
This could happen to anymore. Although many people laugh off a slip and fall accident as a minor accident, they can actually cause quite dangerous injuries. In fact, according to the National Floor Safety Organization, slip and fall accidents account for twenty-one percent (21%) of all hospital visits, making them the leading cause of hospital visits.
Understand your legal rights in the event of a slip and fall accident in a retail store or business.
Dangerous Conditions to Watch For
Many times, hazardous conditions are not obvious, but ideally, you can recognize dangerous conditions in a retail space and avoid slip and fall accidents. Here are a few signs to watch out for:
- Snow and ice in the entryway of a retail shop;
- Improperly positioned floor mats that could trip somebody;
- Any unmarked spills that could result in a slippery floor; and
- Poor lighting.
Report any of these situations to the managers, giving them the opportunity to correct these dangerous situations, keep their customers safe, and avoid liability lawsuits.
Although safety is typically an afterthought when you’re shopping in a retail store, a slip and fall accident is a serious matter. Always beware of potential dangers, avoid them, and keep yourself safe.
What to Do if You Slip and Fall
Even when you’re alert and careful, accidents can happen. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident when you were in a retail shop or business, South Carolina law may entitle you to compensation for your damages. Here are the steps you can take to properly document your injuries.
- Seek immediate medical attention. As soon as you are able, go to the doctor for a full medical evaluation. In a slip and fall accident, one of the greatest dangers is an injury to the head or spine. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) often won’t present symptoms right away. Concussion symptoms might not manifest for hours or even days. Likewise, a spinal injury might not result in obvious symptoms right away, but you could experience intense pain and immobility after the accident. A medical professional will take a close look at all of your injuries and help to document them as they progress. If you delay in seeking a medical evaluation, the shop owner might claim that your injuries weren’t that serious at the time of the accident and refuse to pay your medical bills. This may not be the case and seeking a qualified South Carolina attorney may be in your best interest.
- Document the conditions of the store at the time of your fall. A shop owner can easily clean up a spill and claim you tripped on your own. Keep careful notes of your injuries, take pictures of the scene after the accident happened, and contact eyewitnesses for their accounts of what happened.
- Report the incident to the store manager. To bring a strong claim against the store, you’ll need to show that you alerted the retail shop about your injury as soon as it happened. If possible, submit this report in writing to the shop manager. Ask for and keep a copy of whatever reports are made by the store or any authorities to which the accident is reported.
- Retain an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer. Filing a liability claim can pose incredibly tricky challenges. A skilled attorney can help guide you through the claims process, protect your legal rights, and will work to increase your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries.
Who Is Responsible?
Determining liability after a slip and fall accident in a retail store establishes a basis of your claim. This is the challenge—answering the question of whom should bear responsibility for the accident.
When you walk into a shop, it’s fair to assume that the owner will provide a standard of care for all of their patrons. This includes protecting them from harm.
The retail establishment may claim that you should have taken more care in assessing the potential risks before walking into the store. On the other hand, it’s possible that the store didn’t display appropriate signs and warning indicators. In that case, how were you to know of the danger?
Scenarios in which the store could face liability include:
- Employees who knew about a hazard, but didn’t take steps to correct it or warn their customers;
- Using a dangerous materials in the store without warning or good reasons to do so (for example, polishing the floor with an incredibly slippery wax and not warning customers to walk carefully); and
- Failing to properly alert customers of dangers—for example, if a “Wet Floor” sign was hidden behind a large display. Even though the sign was technically placed on the floor, it was out of view and the customers were unable to see it.
Call an Experienced Charleston, South Carolina, Slip and Fall Attorney Today
Sorting through the claims process with a retail establishment can prove tricky, so it’s important to work with someone who understands how to protect your legal rights.
The lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm have years of experience working with clients in the Charleston, South Carolina, area who have suffered injuries from dangerous slip and fall accidents in retail businesses. We have confidence in our ability to advocate for fair compensation for your damages. Expensive medical bills, ongoing physical therapy, and lost wages due to time off work can create challenging financial burdens. Let our attorneys help to fight for your rights and just compensation while you recover. Call us at (843) 881-8644 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.