Store Liability in Slip-and-Fall Incidents

Individuals who injure themselves in a slip-and-fall incident on a storeowner’s property may seek recourse against the store under certain circumstances. Here, the personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Douglas T. Sachse explain store liability in slip-and-fall incidents.

What is a Slip-and-Fall Incident?

A slip-and-fall incident refers to a personal injury case where an individual slips, trips and falls, causing injury to themselves on another individual’s property. A slip-and-fall incident may be mild or severe, and can cause bruising, sprains, abrasions, breaks, head trauma or even death. These incidents often occur in areas that are icy or slippery, as well as on stairs or uneven surfaces, especially if these surfaces are not well maintained. While slip-and-fall incidents are dangerous for anyone to experience, they are particularly problematic for the elderly or women who are pregnant, as individuals within these demographics may experience more traumatic injuries than others.

Who is the Responsible Party in a Slip-and-Fall Incident?

If an individual suffers a slip-and-fall incident in a store, the business or property owner may be found to be responsible for the incident; however, this will depend on the facts of the case. In Maryland, the legal concept of contributory negligence is used to determine fault in a civil case, including personal injury cases. Contributory negligence dictates that a plaintiff who contributed to their own slip-and-fall injury—even in a minor way—may not recover damages from the defendant, even if the defendant was the main responsible party. In a slip-and-fall incident, if a store or property owner can successfully prove that the injured party contributed to their own injury—perhaps by wearing inappropriate footwear, exhibiting signs of intoxication or by other means—the injured party may not recover damages from the store or property owner. This means that it is crucial for slip-and-fall victims to seek qualified legal counsel, who can help them assess the facts of their unique case.

How is Storeowner or Property Owner Negligence Proven?

To prove that a store or property owner is responsible for an individual’s slip-and-fall incident, it must be proven that the storeowner was negligent. To be negligent is to fail to act in a responsible manner, or in a manner that any other individual in such a situation would reasonably act. Regarding a slip-and-fall incident, a store or property owner may be found to be negligent if an unsafe condition that caused the slip-and-fall occurred, and the store owner, property owner or an employee did not take reasonable steps to correct the unsafe conditions or inform the public that safety concerns existed.

So, for example, if a store parking lot was icy, and the store’s management should have reasonably known the parking lot was icy but failed to take reasonable steps—such as salting the lot, shoveling, putting up warning signs and other precautionary measures—they may be found liable if an individual slips and injures themselves due to the ice on the parking lot. This is only one of many examples of potential slip-and-fall claims, but all slip-and-fall claims must prove that the store owner, property owner or an employee was negligent, and that their negligence was the cause of the damages sustained.

How Can an Attorney Help Me with My Slip-and-Fall Claim?

A slip-and-fall can cause serious injuries, and victims deserve restitution for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. By enlisting the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, victims can help to ensure that their rights are defended in a court of law, and victims may be able to recover damages. Personal injury attorney Douglas T. Sachse has years of experience defending the rights of personal injury victims and seeks to provide a free consultation to any individual who sustained injuries in a slip-and-fall incident on a store’s property. For more information, please call us today and schedule a consultation.

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