I’ve Been Injured in a Retail Store. What Happens Next?
Most retail stores are safe environments for shoppers. Occasionally, however, store owners fail to keep up with maintenance or repairs, causing unsafe conditions for those entering their establishments. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) “9 out of 10 customer accidents result from some form of negligence.” When accidents happen, a personal injury attorney can help you through the medical and legal processes that follow.
Frequent Causes of Retail Store Injuries
- Icy sidewalks that haven’t been properly maintained during winter hours.
- Liquids spilled and left to remain on store floors.
- Debris and unsafe materials left in store aisles.
- Merchandise falling from overhead shelving.
- Broken or missing handrails on stairways or other passageways.
- Unsafe conditions caused by poor lighting in parking lots or stairwells.
- Malfunctioning or dangerous escalators and elevators.
Who is Protected?
The law classifies shoppers and others with legitimate business in a retail store as invitees. This means the store has a duty to protect your health and safety while you are on their premises, from the parking lot to all areas inside the store. Invitees can be shoppers, browsers, delivery personnel, contractors, wholesalers, and anyone else inside the store for legitimate business purposes.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured While Inside a Retail Store?
Taking steps to prove where, how, and when your injury occurred is important. Follow these steps to ensure you have proof of the incident.
- Ask for medical assistance or call 911.
- Contact the manager or owner and request a store incident report. Also request a copy of the report for your records.
- Ask for the store’s insurance company contact information, or get a guarantee that they will contact you.
- If anyone witnessed the accident, including store employees or customers, get their names and contact information.
- Take photographs or video of the scene of the accident. Focus on the dangerous condition that caused the injury and take photographs of the injury itself, if possible. If you are unable to do this due to your injuries, ask someone else to do it as quickly as possible after the incident.
- Go to your personal doctor as soon as possible after your injuries occurred. He or she can document your injuries, linking them to the incident.
- Keep all documentation relating to the incident. This includes receipts for medical bills, prescriptions, medical records, verification of lost wages, travel expenses, etc.
If you’ve been injured in a retail store, contact the professional, friendly personal injury attorneys at Skaug Law for help navigating the medical and legal challenges that are ahead.