Whether you’re out grocery shopping or at the mall with friends, you’re an invitee on someone else’s property. The store/property owner has a duty to provide you with a reasonably safe environment. When stores fail to adequately address hazards or warn their customers, they are responsible for injuries you sustain and you have the right to fair compensation.
Types of Retail Store Injuries
Slip and fall injuries are commonly associated with retail store accidents, but stores may face liability for many other types of accidents, too. If you’re in a large hardware store featuring shelves of inventory overhead and something falls on you, the store is responsible. A store may also face liability for injuries arising from poorly maintained shopping carts, unmanageable crowds, and injuries occurring outside the storefront and in the parking lot.
As a customer, the odds of sustaining a serious injury are relatively small. However, those who do suffer in retail store accidents may face time out of work, long recovery times, rehabilitation, and more. Anyone who suffers a head or spinal cord injury may never fully recover. Fractures, lacerations, and burns are all possible injuries in retail store accidents.
What to Do After an Accident
Take the following steps after any retail store accident, even if you don’t think you sustained an injury. Some injuries may manifest days or weeks after the incident. Failing to take appropriate steps immediately after the incident could prevent you from obtaining compensation later.
1. Let a store employee know. The store should write up an incident report to send to their insurance company. If they don’t take steps to file a report right away, ask that they do so and provide you with a copy. Do not leave the store until you are satisfied the manager has taken appropriate actions to fill out an incident report.
2. Don’t reassure witnesses and store employees you are “fine.” You may want to tell everyone you’re okay and try to walk off the incident to avoid attention. Avoid doing this. If you make a statement indicating you are fine and you start to feel intense pain in your neck or back later, the store may argue you were not injured at its location.
3. Get the names of witnesses and store employees working at the time. Ask for the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident. You may also want to ask for a copy of employees who were on duty at the store that day.
4. Take pictures of the scene and your injuries, if possible. If you are able, take some time to pull out your phone or camera and take some pictures or record the scene, including any hazards you notice such as unrestrained boxes overhead, a spill in the aisle, or malfunctioning escalators.
5. Seek medical assistance. If necessary, ask for immediate medical support or call emergency services. Regardless of how you feel, go to your physician after the incident for a checkup. Mention everything you remember about the accident to help your doctor locate any latent injuries.
Your Rights and the Store’s Responsibilities
Retail store injuries fall under premises liability laws. Retailers are responsible for maintaining a reasonably safe property for all guests. They must address any hazards they know about and those they should have known about, or warn guests about the potential hazards. If you were not acting carelessly at the time of the accident, liability will likely fall on the shoulders of the retailer.
After a negligent retail store incident, you have the right to more than some compensation – you have the right to fair compensation for your injury and losses. Taking the appropriate steps after an accident will help you protect your rights so you can pursue action at a later date, if you wish.
Many retail stores take appropriate steps to protect their customers at all times. Knowing how to handle an unexpected accident or injury, however, gives you the ability to take control of the situation.
http://www.natlawreview.com/article/what-should- you-do- if-you- ve-been- injured-grocery- store