A grocery store or shopping center may seem like a safe place, but there are many dangerous conditions on the premises that could lead to a slip-and-fall. Store owners have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of business invitees and other persons legally allowed onto the property.
Generally, store owners are required to:
- Conduct reasonable inspections of the premises on a regular basis and identify dangerous conditions on the property.
- Take reasonable steps to remedy the dangerous conditions found on the premises.
- Warn customers and others of the dangerous conditions on the premises.
A person injured in a slip-and-fall accident at a retail store may be able to file a personal injury claim against the store owner for damages on the basis of premises liability. These damages may cover the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Proving that a store owner is at-fault for your slip-and-fall may require you to establish:
- Dangerous condition: There was a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property that caused your accident (e.g., slippery floor, debris in the aisles, or broken steps).
- Actual or constructive notice: The store owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused the accident.
- Failure to take reasonable action: The store owner failed to take reasonable steps to fix the problem or warn of the problem.
- Damages: The accident caused you to suffer injuries and/or damages.
Many slip-and-fall accident victims are partially responsible for their own accident. In contributory negligence jurisdictions such as Maryland and Washington DC, if you are partially liable for your own accident, you will be barred from recovering damages. Store owners will go out of their way to prove that you contributed to your own accident.
Your job will be to present evidence, such as accident reports, eyewitness testimony, and photos and videos from the scene to establish that the store owner should be held liable for your accident.