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What Happens If I Slip and Fall in A Retail Store?

By: Anapol Weiss

Nine out of ten injuries in a retail store are attributed to negligence from the store owner or landlord. If you have reason to be on the store property, whether you are a customer, a delivery person or anyone doing business of any kind with the store, you are entitled to a safe experience by law. Basically, the business has a responsibility to provide their visitors with a safe space. If the store owner or landlord is negligent and harms the visitor as a result, the visitor is entitled to file a slip and fall case. Injuries endured on the property premises, parking lot, restroom, dressing room, aisles, checkout lines and entry ways are all required to be kept safe by the business.

You are unable to sue someone for simply slipping and falling on their property unless you can prove there was an unreasonably dangerous condition that resulted in your injury. To pursue a slip and fall case in a retail store, you must prove that the business was negligent and their negligence caused your injury. In addition, you must prove that the business should have reasonably known about the unsafe condition. Essentially, you were harmed because the business knew of an unsafe condition and did not remedy it; as a result, you were injured and are holding them responsible for the injury you endured.

Who is Liable?

All businesses have a legal obligation to maintain a safe premises for their visitors. Slip and fall cases typically hinge on companies being negligent or knowing of an unsafe situation and ignoring the opportunity to fix it.

When determining liability in a slip and fall case in a retail store, there are two parties who could be held liable: the store owner or the landlord. If there is a structural issue that causes you harm such as a water leak that leads to a fall, the landlord would be at fault. If the store owner creates or ignores an issue, then they would be held liable. For example, if a store owner waxes the floor and does not put warning signs letting customers know and a customer slips and falls, the store owner is held liable for failing to post proper safety signs.

Was Someone Negligent?

There are a few things to consider when trying to determine if and how the store owner was negligent after a fall. In slippery floor cases, you want to consider the following:

  • Why was the floor slippery?

  • Was the floor unreasonably slippery?

  • Was there a warning sign about the slippery floor?

  • How long was the slippery substance on the floor?

  • Were you aware that the floor was slippery before you fell?

  • Did the store owner or landlord know or should have known about the slippery floor?

It’s important to gather the answers to as many of these questions as possible after the accident and before leaving the store. The most common substances that cause a retail floor to be slippery is water, grease, floor wax and food debris. It’s close to impossible to win a slip and fall case if you are unable to identify any of these answers but try to file a claim month or years later.

Not all slip and fall cases in retails stores are limited to slippery floors. Other slip and fall cases include falling over debris, a torn rug or boxes that fall off a shelf and interfere with the walkway. All of these scenarios can lead to a slip and fall injury. Each store has a duty to maintain a safe premise for everyone who has reason to be on their property. If you’ve experienced an injury due to negligence on a store property and you are able to prove how the negligence resulted in your injury, you are entitled to pursue a slip and fall case.