The holiday season is here, and shoppers are flooding the malls and retail shops looking for the right gifts to make this year special. This is the busiest time of the year for the retail industry, when the malls and shops become increasingly chaotic. To make matters worse, many places are severely understaffed and/or have poorly trained staff that is not equipped to handle the spike in holiday traffic. These and other factors greatly increase the likelihood of slip and fall accidents during the holiday shopping season.
Hazards to Avoid this Holiday Season
The malls and retail shops are a breeding ground for slips, trips, and falls during the holidays, and there are numerous dangers to watch out for when you are out shopping. Here are some examples:
- There is tons of merchandise being brought in and moved out during the holidays. During this time of the year, workers are typically trying to juggle several tasks, one of them being to keep the shelves stocked. This can result in shelves that are overstocked or stocked unevenly, causing merchandise to fall on customers.
- The shelves are just one area of potential danger with regards to being injured by merchandise. Shoppers must also watch out for extra merchandise that is placed randomly on floors and in walkways throughout the store. It is very easy to trip over merchandise when it is placed in areas where the customer is not expecting it to be.
- With all the hustle and bustle going on, liquid spills are a frequent occurrence during the holiday shopping season. These may result from items that fall from the shelves and break, other shoppers or employees spilling their drinks, and similar incidents. It is important for staff to clean up spills as quickly as possible, so shoppers do not get exposed to this hazard.
- During the holidays, malls and stores are open for extended hours. This means their escalators and elevators are working overtime as well. When they are not properly maintained and ready for heavy use, escalators and elevators can break down and injure shoppers that are riding them.
- There are certain shopping days, such as Black Friday and the final days leading up to Christmas when the stores become extremely chaotic. This can lead to increased tension among shoppers, resulting in pushing, shoving, and even trampling as shoppers try to take advantage of bargains and deals. This problem is exacerbated when stores do not take proper measures to ensure crowd control.
- Parking lots are another area of malls and shops that become extremely crowded this time of year. This can be especially dangerous for pedestrians who are at a greater risk of getting hit by a car in an overcrowded parking lot.
When is a Store Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
Malls and store owners owe a duty of care to take reasonable steps to keep their stores safe for their customers. If the owner, manager, or staff breaches this duty of care and this breach results in injuries and compensable damages, it is possible that the store could be held liable for the incident. To be successful with this type of case, you must show the following:
If you or someone close to you was injured in a slip and fall accident while out shopping, there are some steps you should take right away to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights:
If you are injured, you should be seen by a medical professional to thoroughly examine you and help determine the extent of your injuries. If you do not see a doctor right away, this could be used as an argument by the other side that you really weren’t really injured.
If possible, you should have someone who was with you write down in detail what happened and all the specifics about the incident. In addition, take multiple photographs of the area in which the slip and fall accident occurred and the hazardous condition that caused it. Finally, obtain the contact information of any individuals who may have seen what happened and can help substantiate your claim.
As soon as possible after the incident, get in touch with a skilled personal injury lawyer to review your case and discuss your legal options. Slip and fall cases can be complicated and challenging to pursue, and the other side will most likely argue forcefully that the incident was your fault and that they are not responsible. For this reason, it is very important to have strong legal counsel in your corner advocating aggressively for your rights and interests.