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The basics of store liability for injuries

Injuries in retail stores account for thousands of compensation claims annually. Premises liability in Pennsylvania holds shop owners responsible for injuries because of negligence. The same applies regardless of the size of the store or how well-known it is. Some store-related injuries can have lasting effects on customers, so it’s important to know what steps to take after an accident.

Types of shopping injuries

Many store injuries tend to increase during bad weather or holiday times when people rush to get in and out of the store. Uneven surfaces make floors a fall risk, such as from cracks, torn carpeting or loose tiles.

Weather commonly makes surfaces wet, creating a fall hazard on parking lots and walkways. Slipping on a wet surface can cause not only bumps or bruises but also broken bones and serious head injuries. A store owner should alert customers to wet floors with a sign, but they still might be liable for injuries.

Most states require store owners to keep the walkways and other areas around the store free from accumulation. However, the natural accumulation law may apply, meaning the owner doesn’t have obligation to remove natural snow accumulation.

Proving fault

To prove fault in a slip-and-fall accident, the plaintiff has to establish that the owner had a duty of care and did not fulfill this duty. They acted negligently and failed to remedy the hazard in reasonable time to avoid an injury. For example, if they knew a spill had occurred and failed to clean it in several hours, they could be liable.

Some states have comparative fault laws, which make both parties responsible and requires them to share a percentage of the blame. The party still may pursue compensation, but the court reduces compensation based on that percentage. If the party acted negligently, such as talking on a cellphone and not paying attention to signage, the store owner likely won’t be responsible for the injuries.

Under premises liability law, injured parties can recover damages, but insurance providers often make lowball offers. An attorney may be able to help injured parties get a fair settlement.