How to Determine Grounds for a Premises Liability Claim
When people visit retail stores, they’re often at risk for an injury. More than 2,000 people per day visit emergency rooms throughout the United States due to injuries that result from slip-and-fall accidents, many of which take place inside or on the surrounding property of retail stores. Numerous other types of injuries may occur as well if there are hazards at a particular establishment. Store owners are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for guests.
A Store Owner’s Obligation Includes Numerous Property Issues
Unsafe store conditions place workers and visitors at risk. The following list includes basic responsibilities that the average New Jersey store owner has with regard to providing a safe environment for guests:
- To keep all workers, vendors, and visitors safe
- To prevent accidents through implementation of warning signs
- To regularly inspect a premises for possible hazards
- To correct problems that place people at risk
While injuries resulting from slips and falls are among the most common types of mishaps that occur in the retail store environment, visitors may also be at risk because of other hazards, such as debris lying in a walkway, heavy objects falling from shelves, toxic fumes, or dog bites that take place on a store owner’s property. An experienced personal injury attorney is well-versed in premises liability laws, including a store owner’s legal obligations to any person that visits the establishment. A person who suffers injury while visiting a retail store may want to consult with a personal injury attorney to learn more about whether a store owner can be deemed liable for the incident.
Safety Hazards for Which a Store Owner Might Be Liable
Fire safety and electrical hazards are also examples of issues that create vulnerability for store guests. A store owner must make sure there are no loose or damaged wires or plugs exposed to visitors. Overloading power sockets can also create an unsafe shopping environment for guests. Leaving flammable materials near a heat source, malfunctioning light fixtures and numerous other issues can pose fire and safety hazards at a retail store.
Know What to Do If You Are Injured
A top priority following these injuries is always to seek medical attention. Not only is it wise to obtain a proper diagnosis of your condition, it also creates written documentation of the incident, which will be crucial if you decide to file a premises liability lawsuit. The following list shows some issues that are relevant:
- Visitor’s legal status
- Foreseeability of the accident
- Owner’s actions in maintaining safe environment
- Owner’s actions following incident
- Visitor’s reason for being there
- Visitor’s actions
Your legal status in a retail establishment might be as an invited guest (the store owner extended an invitation), a licensee (you entered on your own volition with the store owner’s consent) or trespasser (you entered a property without the owner’s consent). Each of these issues would help determine whether the events leading up to and following your injury constitute a premises liability to the store owner.
If you fall and break a bone or suffer a concussion, you might be faced with tens of thousands of dollars worth of medical bills. A more severe condition, such as a neck or spinal cord injury or a hip fracture, may require more sophisticated forms of examination and treatment, which would be even more expensive. Some injuries may result in permanent disability, perhaps preventing you from returning to work, which would undoubtedly cause additional financial distress.
Build a Strong Support Network from the Start
An otherwise enjoyable day of shopping can turn into a disastrous event if a store owner’s negligence causes you to be harmed. The New Jersey attorneys at Rebenack, Aranow & Mascalow, L.L.P., are committed to providing strong support to retail store visitors who have been injured because of the owner’s negligence. To learn more, you can schedule a consultation by calling our New Brunswick office at (732) 247-3600 or our Somerville office at (908) 448-2560.