Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common types of injury, and in a retail store, where numerous hazardous exist that can contribute to a slip and fall, these accidents and lawsuits related to them are becoming almost ubiquitous. Indeed, a number of major retail stores, including Home Depot, Walmart, Walgreens, and Costco have all faced lawsuits related to slip and fall injuries in stores.
If you are harmed in a slip and fall accident in a retail store in Virginia, you may be wondering whether the retail store can be held responsible for your damages. Here’s what you need to know about common retail store slip and fall accidents, and the store’s duty to maintain a safe premise.
Common Retail Store Slip and Fall Accidents
Retail stores may be necessary places to visit for the purchase of many consumer goods, but there are often dozens of hazards that exists within these stores that make slip and fall accidents possible, if not inevitable. To be sure, some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents in retail stores include:
- Spills of foods, beverages, cleaners, soaps, or other liquids;
- Food and other debris on the floor, creating a hazard;
- Collisions with shopping carts, other customers, or even a forklift;
- Loose wires, cords, and other tripping hazards;
- Icy, snowy, or otherwise hazardous parking lots and entryways; and
- Defective, broken, or dangerous walkways.
A Retail Store’s Duty to Maintain a Safe Premises
A retail store (and all owners of property) has a duty to those who enter the store to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. When this duty is breached, and a retail store customer is involved in an accident and suffers an injury as a direct result, the retail store can be held liable for damages.
A retail store may breach its duty to maintain the property in a safe condition when it creates a hazard, or when it fails to remedy a known hazard. For example, a retail store may create a hazard if it decided to rearrange or remodel part of the store, leaving debris and items in walking areas in the process. On the other hand, it may fail to remedy a hazard if another party (i.e. another customer) spills a drink creating a risk of slip and fall, yet store employees know of and fail to clean up the spill.
Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Claim
To hold a store liable for injuries resulting from a slip and fall, an injured customer must prove several different elements. These include:
- A dangerous condition existed within the retail store;
- The retail store knew of the condition or should have knownof the condition;
- The retail store failed to remedy the condition in a reasonable amount of time; and
- The condition was the direct cause of the claimant’s accident and injuries.
The two hardest elements to prove are that the store knew or should have known of the condition, and that the amount of time that passed between knowledge of the condition and acting to remedy it/the injury occurred (whichever came first) was unreasonable. Evidence that may need to be collected to establish both might include employees’ testimonies, store security video footage, customers’ statements, and more.
Let Our Virginia Premises Liability Accident Attorneys Help You
It’s important to remember that most retail stores are large corporations with millions of dollars, which means that they have the power and resources to hire top lawyers to protect them if you try to bring forth a legal action to recover compensation after a slip and fall accident. While this can be intimidating, you can protect yourself and your right to recovery by arming yourself with an experienced and skilled lawyer of your own.
At the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C., we have experience representing clients involved in claims against retail stores and private companies. To learn more about recovering the compensation you deserve after a slip and fall, visit our office today, send us a message with a brief description of your case, or call us directly at 703-361-1555 to request a consultation.