SANTA ANA – LEGAL – Imagine you are in a store looking around, and you slip on some spilled water on the floor. Obviously, the store is responsible for your injuries, right? Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Each year more than a thousand individuals are injured in the US while shopping. These aren’t just minor injuries: sometimes they result in major neck and back injuries that can lead to permanent disability. When it comes to slip and fall injuries, shopping centers top the list of where people get hurt the most.
However, if you fall while shopping, it isn’t always the store’s fault. There must be specific conditions in place to make the owner negligent and therefore liable for your injuries. Proving those conditions existed isn’t always as easy as you would think. To prove your personal injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, your Santa Ana personal injury lawyers have to prove that the store owner failed to keep their store safe and that that failure was the cause of the injuries you sustained.
Various types of shopping accidents
The terms “shopping injuries” is one that encompasses a vast number of accidents that people have while they are walking around a shopping mall, in a retail establishment, or while visiting a store. Although these are mostly minor injuries, sometimes consumers are injured severely or even killed while out and about shopping for what they need. Shopping injuries are highest in the peak of retail trends, like days such as “Black Friday” or other last-minute shopping holidays, when people are in a rush and shops are filled to capacity.
There are many different types of shopping accidents; the most common types are:
- Head and body injuries – Head and body injuries can result from things like falling retail displays, attempting to get things that are out of your reach, or heavy objects falling on you.
- Slip and fall – Shoppers can slip and fall for a variety of reasons. Things that commonly cause slip and fall accidents are wet or slippery floors, worn or torn carpeting, poor lighting, or even escalator malfunction.
- Overcrowding injuries – Things like trampling or rushing to get the hottest item and stampeding are overcrowding injuries.
- Parking lot injuries – Defects in the parking lot can cause slip and fall injuries, as can failing to remove ice or other slip and fall hazards.
- Shopping cart injuries – Shopping cart injuries result from children falling out of shopping carts or shopping carts tipping over.
Not all shopping injuries are the owner’s fault
It isn’t enough to be injured while shopping to initiate a lawsuit for damages. For the store owner to be liable, you have to prove that they were negligent and that their negligence led to your injury. A property owner has an obligation to keep their store free from potential hazards. They have to exercise “reasonable care.” Reasonable care is a legal construct that means that if anyone else were in the same situation, they would have done the same thing.
To prove the store owner’s negligence you have to show that:
- The store owner knew that there was a hazard or that they should have known because any reasonable person would have
- The owner didn’t do a check of the store to ensure that it was safe, or they didn’t regularly inspect the store to remove any potential hazards and dangers
- That, if the owner had taken the proper care, you would not have been injured
- Your injury was the direct result of a dangerous condition while you were shopping
- That you suffered real and actual “damages,” either economic or noneconomic
When you walk into a store, you probably don’t survey your surroundings because you presume that the store owner has taken reasonable care to ensure your safety while you are shopping. But that isn’t always the case. If you are injured while shopping, it is important to hire a personal injury attorney to prove that your accident was a result of the store owner not taking reasonable care. Otherwise, it may be difficult for you to recover for your injuries.