In a few short months, the winter holidays will be upon us again. At this point, only the best planners have started their holiday shopping, but soon they will be joined by millions across the country looking for great deals on the best gifts. With the increase in shoppers will come the inevitable increased risk of shopping accidents and injuries. Wet floors, exposed trip hazards, and falling merchandise can all lead to serious injuries to unsuspecting customers. While premises liability laws in California require property owners and occupants to ensure their property is safe for others to enter, there are a few things you should know about how such laws work.
Most Common Retail Customer Injuries
Black Friday stampedes and fights over the season’s hottest toys may make headlines, but other types are much more common in most stores and shopping centers. Slip and fall accidents due to wet or poorly maintained floors are statistically the most likely to occur. Shoppers can also trip over exposed edges of carpet, cords, displays, or other items. Falls may result in sprains, strains, back injuries, and broken bones, leading to long-term medical care and hefty bills.
As stores begin increasing their inventory for the upcoming months, many outlets stack overstock on high shelves out of the reach of customers. This is especially common in warehouse clubs and big-box retailers. Overanxious customers or bumps by shopping carts can cause the stacked merchandise to fall, and many shoppers have been hit by heavy boxes on the way down. Falling merchandise can cause concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, which could even lead to death in the most severe situations.
A Retailer’s Duty of Care
Property owners have different levels of responsibility for keeping their premises safe depending on the type of property they own and how it is used. Those who own retail businesses assume the greatest responsibility as they, by their nature, must invite members of the general public onto their property to conduct business. Thus, retail business owners must take care to eliminate environmental hazards and to warn customers about hazards that may not be quite so obvious. It is also the responsibility of the property owner or occupant to inspect the premises regularly and to address any dangers that may have developed. Failing to do so could result in liability for any injuries those dangers subsequently cause.
Seek Legal Help
If you have suffered injuries while shopping at a department store, mall, grocery store, or any other retail establishment, an experienced San Jose premises liability attorney can help you fully understand your available options. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
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.