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Don't Be Caught Off Guard While Shopping: What You Need To Know About Retail Store Negligence And Personal Injuries

by Marilyn Olson

While shopping can be an enjoyable pursuit, it can also be a dangerous one if store owners fail to keep their premises free of hazards that can injure you. Shopping injuries happen more often than most people realize. For instance, approximately 24,000 children are hurt each year in shopping cart accidents. Furthermore, when stores fail to provide safeguards during renovations, customers can suffer serious injuries from incidents such as a ceiling collapse.

You may not be thinking about the possibility of getting injured while shopping, but if you arm yourself with some basic knowledge of retail-related personal injuries, you will know the proper way to take immediate action and receive compensation for any physical harm you or a loved one suffers.

The Different Types of Shopping-related Injuries

Defective shopping carts and lack of protection from construction areas are not the only type injuries that can occur as you shop. Other types include:

  • Injuries from poor parking lot conditions such as potholes, cracked pavement, poor design, snow accumulation or icy surfaces.
  • Slips due to wet floors after mopping or spilled liquids.
  • Falls caused by poor lighting, defective steps or raggedy carpet.
  • Injuries when rowdy crowds cause stampedes and trampling.
  • Head injuries caused by objects that fall from displays and shelves.

This is not an exhaustive list of shopping-related personal injuries. Any situation that causes you physical harm while you are shopping, no matter where you are on the store premises, can provide you with enough reason to file a personal injury complaint or even sue.

What to Do When You Get Injured While Shopping

The sooner you take action after you are injured while shopping, the better. Get immediate medical attention no matter the severity of your injury. If the injury is not serious enough for the store to call paramedics, see a doctor right away. If there is broken skin or blood, make sure the store provides you with first-aid equipment for your injury.

Do not hesitate to report your injury to a store manager. Make sure to take notes or have someone take them for you. You want to make sure you remember every single detail of your injury and interactions with store personnel. If you have a smartphone with a camera, take pictures of where you suffered the injury and your wounds.

If the store asks you to give a statement, be as accurate and truthful as possible. If there were witnesses, make sure you get their contact information. Witnesses will be crucial to your case if you need to sue the store.

After you take care of the tasks above, call a lawyer from a place like Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy LLC. Even if you are unsure about whether or not the incident warrants legal action, get legal advice anyway.

What to Expect from a Store on the Defense

While you are in the store, the actual employees may be very nice to you. But if you decide to sue the retailer, things can turn ugly as the store's lawyers will do everything they can to avoid paying you one cent.

This is one of the main reasons you need to consult a lawyer. You need someone who is well-versed in your state's personal injury laws and shopping-related lawsuits on your side in court.

Even if it is clear that the store was negligent, be prepared to face any of the following defenses from the store lawyers.

  • You should have noticed the hazardous conditions and avoided them. Yes, the store may try to blame you for their negligence.
  • Hazardous conditions did not actually exist and you made the incident up.
  • Your injury occurred in an area where shoppers were not allowed.
  • The retailer had no prior knowledge of the hazardous conditions.

A good lawyer will be able to defend you against any false accusations by the retailer so you can receive the monetary compensation you deserve.