Injury Lawyer for Slip and Fall Accidents at Big Lots
Imagine finding exactly what you need while out shopping at Big Lots right before suffering a slip-and-fall injury, which is the last thing you need. You may wonder if clumsiness, inattention, another shopper’s actions or an employee’s inaction caused your fall. With so many questions and injuries to tend to, you deserve to understand the fundamentals of slip-and-fall accidents. At Hill and Moin, we dedicate ourselves to educating our clients in various areas of the law to give them peace of mind and an idea of what to do next to protect themselves and their rights.
A Store’s Duty To Preserve Safe Premises
Any store open to the public has a duty to maintain moderately safe premises to keep customers and others safe. When slips, trips or falls happen and cause injuries, store owners could bear liability for covering the victim’s medical bills and other legal damages if the injured party gathers evidence that shows the accident happened because of hazardous conditions.
Trips, slips and falls happen in businesses for several reasons. Condensation, like ice or snow, may gather at the store’s entrance, ragged carpets could become tripping hazards and employees may place products on display haphazardly around high-traffic areas. Businesses like Big Lots could have missing or poor lighting, which may make it hard for customers to watch where they step and notice hazards. No matter the reason a person falls, the business’s legal obligation depends on whether it had fair notice of the hazard and an opportunity to take care of it.
Holding the Business Responsible
Slip-and-fall accident victims may explore a few theories to hold store owners responsible for the injuries they endure. For instance, the business could bear liability if it knew about the dangerous condition, no matter if it created it, but did nothing to take care of it. For example, one customer may spill a beverage on the floor, causing another customer to slip and fall and break several bones. To hold the store liable, the injured party must prove the business knew or should have known about the spill. The victim must also have a way to show the spill remained long enough for a store employee to notice it and take care of it. Slip-and-fall victims may also show the responsible party either knew or should have suspected the common nature of spills in businesses and implemented a strategy to monitor and take care of such hazards.
Injured parties should expect to prove the hazard did not represent a clear and open danger that required them to go out of their way to avoid it. For instance, if a person tripped over a merchandise display erected in a well-lit part of the store where customers would expect to see such a display, she or he likely would not have a solid personal injury case. Customers must exercise modest caution to keep themselves safe, and they cannot hold property owners responsible for every trauma they suffer. While evaluating their claims, personal injury victims must ask themselves if a reasonable person would have seen the hazard and maneuvered around it. If so, then the store owner could bear liability for their harm.
Holding the Victim Responsible
Sometimes, businesses respond to slip-and-fall suits with claims that the victim partially or completely caused her or his injuries. States classify such arguments as “contributory negligence” and “comparative negligence.” State laws influence the victim’s ability to receive legal damages if he or she played a part in the accident.
States with contributory negligence regulations include Alabama, Washington, D.C, Maryland and Virginia. Under contributory negligence laws, personal injury victims who contribute to their injuries cannot take legal action against store owners or other potentially responsible parties. In pure contributory negligence states, if the court finds the victim even a single percent at fault for the suffered harm, she or he cannot recover damages at all, even if the defendant bears 99% of the blame.
States that follow comparative negligence laws include Kansas, Georgia, New York, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina. In these areas, courts assess how to divide fault between all involved parties. For example, in a slip-and-fall case, say Customer Bill paid more attention to his electronic device and less attention to where he stepped. His inattention caused him to slip on a puddle Employee Janet knew about but failed to mop up. In this situation, Bill and Janet both contributed to Bill’s fall and demonstrated negligence. A judge or jury could decide Bill bears 40% of the blame while Janet bears 60%. If Bill suffered $100,000 in damages, he only qualifies to receive $60,000 under the comparative negligence system.
Comparative negligence breaks down into “pure comparative negligence” and “modified comparative negligence.” States that follow modified comparative negligence rules set limits on how much fault injured plaintiffs may bear and still qualify for damages. For example, slip-and-fall victims may collect damages from defendants as long as the victim bears less than 50% of the blame for the circumstances that triggered the accident.
Common Slip-and-Fall Injuries
After any personal injury, victims should let a health care professional examine them from head to toe for injuries. Even when a person feels fine, she or he could have hidden or delayed harm that needs to be treated. Knowing common injuries associated with slips and falls lets victims and their medical teams know what to look for.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Because a visual examination does not always reveal soft tissue injuries, plaintiffs may have a hard time proving them in a lawsuit. The delayed trauma may not make itself apparent until days or weeks after a fall. Examples of soft tissue injuries include wrist and ankle sprains and ligament and tendon tears. Suspected soft tissue injuries require immediate medical attention to help victims avoid constant discomfort and more injuries.
Abrasions and Cuts
Slipping and falling could lead to abrasions and cuts on the arms, hips, head and legs, but such injuries often look worse than they are. Usually, the injuries need little more than stitches and general medical treatment. Falls ending in major impacts could cause cuts and abrasions that appear on top of more severe injuries, such as damaged bones and head injuries.
When someone slips and falls and hits her or his head, the force could trigger a head injury. No matter how major or minor the impact, a physician should examine the trauma and test the patient for traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions. Minor head injuries could clear up without medical intervention, but more severe harm could cause permanent trauma without proper treatment.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A fall could constrict or sever the spinal column, which is a spinal cord trauma. Such harm could prove fatal without prompt emergency medical attention and long-term care. Usually, the higher the spinal cord injury, the more severe the damage. An injury on the lower part of the spine may paralyze the lower limbs, while an injury higher on the spine could cause complete paralysis. No matter how high or low the trauma, slip-and-fall victims may spend millions of dollars on treatment the first year after an injury.
Build Your Slip-and-Fall Case Today
Do not let Big Lots get away with injuring you in a slip-and-fall incident. Hill and Moin want to help you create a recovery solution. For your free consultation, call us at 212-668-6000.
If you sustained an injury from a slip and fall accident at any of the following commercial properties, our personal injury attorneys can help:
- Baskin Robbins
- Bath & Body Works
- BJ’s Wholesale Club
- Burger King
- Burlington Coat Factory