Shopping Injuries: First Steps

May 14, 2018

Shopping Center AccidentsWhile shopping might not normally be the most extreme recreational activity, thousands of consumers each year suffer serious injuries from shopping injuries and accidents incurred while shopping at retail locations. If you or a loved one were injured at a retail facility due to the negligence of the store, you could have a potential personal injury claim. That personal injury claim can be crucial to helping pay for expensive medical bills, or replace lost income from missed time at work.

In order to have a viable claim, you must be able to prove that the other party owed you a duty of care, and breached that duty, which results in damages (injuries) to you. In most cases, accidents don’t just happen on their own. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “9 out of 10 customer accidents result from some form of negligence.”

Knowing what steps to take after you or a loved one experience an injury while shopping can be crucial to ensuring that you are fairly compensated for injuries incurred due to the negligence of a shop owner or employee.

Common Causes of Retail Injuries

Slip and fall injuries are by far the most common type of accidents that occur in retail shopping facilities. These injuries can be the result of torn carpeting, liquids spilled onto the floor, or other obstructions that cause consumers to lose their balance and fall. Since these falls are unexpected, injuries can occur to the head, arms, and other body parts from falling onto the floor or into shelving or merchandise.

Even without a fall, sharp or jagged shelves and showcases can cause painful cuts to store patrons. Heavy or sharp merchandise falling  from shelves can also fall and injure unsuspecting shoppers. Faulty staircases, escalators, elevators, or revolving doors can also cause injuries to shoppers.

While there exist many sources of potential injury inside retail centers, there are other dangers that exists outside or in a parking lot. Poor visibility caused by insufficient lighting in parking lots can be a hazard caused by the retail facility’s owner, as can shopping carts that are improperly secured, or have wheels that are improperly aligned or maintained.

Actions to Take After an Injury While Shopping

The key to being properly compensated for injuries incurred while in a retail location is collecting sufficient and believable evidence to prove your claim. However, the first action that should always be taken is an assessment of the injury sustained. If the injury is serious enough, and especially if it involves the head, neck, or back area, call 911 for emergency medical assistance. If the injury is less severe, ask store employees to provide a first aid kid or some other form of medical assistance.

Next, take photographs and video of the scene of the accident. This includes injuries sustained as a result of the incident, as well the the dangerous obstruction or item that caused the injury. Documenting the hazard promptly is crucial to building a strong case later.

It is also important to gather the names of witnesses and store employees who either saw the accident or arrived afterwords to render assistance. Asking the store owner or manager to fill out an incident report is an important step in formally documenting the accident, and can be crucial for insurance claims down the road.

Lastly, keep copies of all important documentation, including receipts, copies of medical charts, and relevant bills, and verification of lost wages or missed work.

Perhaps the most crucial step that an accident victim should take is retaining a personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help organize evidence, and procure more if necessary, and will be able to negotiate with the store or insurance company on your behalf. If the lawyer doesn’t feel a settlement offer is sufficient recompense for your injuries, they have the power to file a lawsuit, take depositions, and use other legal tactics to ensure you receive every dollar to which you are entitled.



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