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The holiday season is extremely busy for most businesses, especially for retail establishments. It is also a time when slip, trip and fall accidents increase due to inclement winter weather. This is not just a concern for the safety of customers and employees, but also for potential lawsuits that might result from a fall.

According to the National Safety Council, business owners spend $70 billion annually in worker compensation and medical claims. The winter months are when a good deal of these compensation claims are filed. That's why business owners are encouraged to take all precautions necessary to prevent workers and customers from becoming injured on the property.

Salting sidewalks when the conditions may be slippery and placing mats outside and inside the entrance to the store is essential to reduce the likelihood of a bad fall on the premises, but many business owners fail to do this. Mats should be properly secured in its location, have good traction and slip-resistant backing. They should also be kept clean. Up to a pound of dirt and other debris can build up on these mats in a single week, rendering them far less effective and possibly doing more harm than good.

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow and a lot of preparation and planning has gone into the meal and festivities of the day. But for many families, a lot of planning has also gone into the day after Thanksgiving: Black Friday. With so many deals and door prizes, shoppers often plan out what route they will take in order to find the best deals.

But even the best shopper cannot plan for everything. One of the biggest concerns surrounding Black Friday is customer safety. If a store fails to take reasonable steps to protect customers on one of the biggest shopping days of the year, shoppers could find themselves leaving the store with serious injuries instead of a good deal.

Stores across the nation are opening even earlier this year. In the past, 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. were early times. But now some stores like Target will be opening at midnight; ToysRUs is opening at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

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When people hear the phrase "premises liability", they often think of an icy sidewalk or inadequate security. Premises liability claims can arise when someone suffers an injury due to a property owner or manager's negligence. But what constitutes negligence?

This might be a question that the parents of three high school students are wondering. Three girls were trapped in an elevator shaft in their middle school for 40 minutes. They suffered minor injuries, but the question still remains: how did this happen?

Though the incident is still under investigation, school officials believe they know what happened based on the accounts from the three girls.

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It's dinnertime and your stomach is growling. You and your friends discuss possible places to eat, eventually settling on a restaurant nearby. As you walk into the restaurant excitedly, you suddenly slip and fall, landing with a thud. Instead of leaving with a full stomach, you leave the restaurant with a number of injuries.

This is not a fictional scenario. This actually happened to a woman who had been walking through a restaurant. She slipped on some salad dressing that had fallen on the floor. She fell and sustained a number of mental and physical injuries as a result. The woman filed a premises liability lawsuit against the restaurant.

When a company or business, such as a restaurant, fails to properly clean up spills on the ground, customers can get hurt. Even a seemingly minor fall can leave a customer with chronic hip pain or even broken bones. These types of falls can be the result of negligence on the part of the property owner.

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Earlier this year, a San Francisco Giants fan was beaten at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles after baseball's opening day. The incident was highly publicized as the victim of the beating ended up in a coma. According to the man's family, he is still hospitalized in San Francisco in critical condition.

A few months after the beating, the man's family filed a lawsuit against several named defendants, claiming a number of things including premises liability. The incident occurred in the parking lot of the stadium, raising the question of inadequate security.

Families and victims file civil claims against defendants for a number of reasons. One particular reason is to seek compensation for expenses that can arise after an unexpected accident. These costs can include medical bills, the cost of home care, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. Often victims and their families are not financially prepared to handle what can turn into overwhelming debt.

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While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with the attorney, please call at 408-293-7777 or complete the intake form below.

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John J. Garvey, III
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