Who is Liable if You Slip and Fall in a Store?
The legal fault for a slip and fall in a store, like most other personal injuries, depends on who, if anyone, breached a duty of care. In many cases, it is the store owner or manager who failed to keep the property safe. However, sometimes it’s the fault of the person who fell. Determining liability is important because it affects whether you have a valid claim, who you need to name as defendants in a lawsuit, and who will be responsible for any monetary damages.
Proving fault for a personal injury
In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant was negligent because they owed some duty to the plaintiff– but they breached that duty and that the breach caused the injury.
These requirements also apply to premises liability cases. If you suffer an injury in a slip and fall in a store, you must be able to show that whoever you file a claim or lawsuit against had a legal duty to keep the area safe, that they failed to do so, and that you were injured because of it.
Duty of businesses to keep the property safe
Business owners face a trade-off. When they invite customers onto their property, they are then under a duty to keep it safe. Essentially, the question is whether the business owner knew or should have known of a hazard but failed to fix it or provide a warning to those who enter.
The realities of business can complicate legal questions over a slip and fall. For example, if the fall occurs in a store, there might be a separate person or business that is responsible for maintaining the property. Your attorney has to determine which potential parties are legally responsible.
Breaches leading to liability for a slip and fall
Each incident is unique, but there are common patterns that emerge among slip and fall cases in stores. Whether the fall occurs because of a slick substance on the floor, materials that were carelessly left as tripping hazards, poorly maintained floors or loose carpet, or any other reason– the question will be whether the defendant acted reasonably to keep customers safe.
Some of the things that go into keeping the property safe include:
- Hiring competent employees and properly training them
- Inspecting for hazards
- Making repairs in a reasonable time
- Posting warning signs about problems
Proving a slip and fall claim
It is best to act quickly when you have a slip and fall claim. It can easily become your word against the defendant’s if you do not have corroborating evidence.
Try to obtain the names and addresses of any witnesses. Take photos of the area, and especially of the hazardous condition that led to the fall. Take note of any details– like who was working that day– and pay attention to anyone who can testify how long the hazard was present. Seek a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Muscle aches or soreness and can become more intense over the first couple days– but seeing a doctor will improve your recovery and help document your claim.
Contact us at Douglas and London
Act as quickly as possible. Get your injuries checked out by a doctor as soon as you can. File an incident report with the store. Speak with a slip and fall lawyer in New York from our firm. We will take steps to preserve evidence, handle communications on your behalf, and guide your case.
We fight to hold property owners responsible for their negligence. We help New Yorkers recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. Call today to schedule a free consultation to learn about your rights.