Mall Slip and Fall AccidentsThe mall is usually a large place, and there are many opportunities for accidents to happen. Many times, people will over but not pursue any further action because they were not hurt or because they simply wish to get on with their days. In some cases, the accidents happen because of other people; for example, a group of children may be playing and accidentally bump into someone, causing him to fall. Another person may momentarily put her shopping bags down to check her phone or rest only for a passerby to trip and fall. There are other ways that a slip and fall can occur at a mall, however, that can be blamed on the improper care of the property owner, store workers, or maintenance workers. These incidents include:
- Wet floors: It is not common for workers to clean the floors during normal business hours, but they may have to if there’s a spill of some kind. The floors can be mopped up and a hazard sign can be placed there. Other times, the floors can be polished, but the polish can be quite slippery. It is important for customers to pay attention to any hazard signs, but if a worker forgets to place one, it could be dangerous.
- Escalator accidents: Escalators are present in nearly every mall. They usually do have slightly raised lips at the bottom and top of each, which could cause you to trip if you are not careful. Your shoe may also get caught, or your shoelace, pant leg, animal leash, purse strap, or something else may be trapped in the escalator, causing you to be tugged and to fall over.
- Merchandise in the aisles: The common area of the mall is generally free from specific merchandise, but the stands and shops can have people restocking them. Their goods may be in the walkway, which poses a tripping hazard. In the stores themselves, workers could keep merchandise scattered about, sometimes hidden our out of easy view, and patrons may trip and fall.
- Food court incidents: Malls usually have a food court with various eateries. These establishments offer all different kinds of food, and sometimes, spills happen due to workers or customers. The spills may not be fully cleaned up or may take a while to be tended to. A fall in a food court can result in numerous injuries, not least of all because of the closeness of tables and chairs.
- Parking lot and parking structure accidents: The parking lot and structure are both generally property of the mall, and as a result, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the lots. If there are numerous cracks, raised sidewalks, broken stairs, or other issues, he must fix them as quickly as he can because of the dangers they pose. These risks are compounded by the fact that cars are constantly entering and exiting the lot, and if someone falls, he may be invisible to a driver, resulting in severe or life-threatening injuries.
Target of a LawsuitIf you fell in a mall, you have to be able to specify which party you wish to file a claim against. If the accident occurred in the common area, in the parking lot, near escalators, or by the food court, you could target the mall itself for your claim. If you were in an outlet store or some other establishment inside the mall, you could also have a second claim filed against the specific business. For example, if a Nike store had slippery floors and you fell, you could take action against both the mall and Nike. Common area injuries may not always result in the mall being liable, though. As stated above, a woman who put her bags down might be responsible for your injuries, while the parents of frolicking children may bear liability. The mall, however, would merely be the location in which these accidents occurred, and did nothing to contribute to the incident. If you are having trouble identifying who is responsible for your injuries, we recommend reaching out to a knowledgeable attorney in Los Angeles.
Care for InviteesAs a customer in a mall, you are labeled as an invitee. You have the highest duty of care afforded to you by the property owner and managers in the mall; there must be no hazards that can potentially cause you or other customers harm and any possible dangers should be addressed and fixed as quickly as possible. Invitees are defined as individuals who enter the premises with some kind of contract; in this case, it includes the exchange of money for goods. Keep in mind that because the mall is a place of business, customers are automatically defined as invitees, whether or not they made a purchase or intended to make a purchase. Licensees are generally social guests and would not be categorized as such, and trespassers have no legal right to be present in the mall at all. If you are hurt in a slip and fall, it is generally because of one of the following reasons:
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- The owner caused the spill or one of the workers at an establishment caused the damage or hazard to occur
- The owner knew there was a risk or hazard present but did not take any steps to fix or correct it
- The owner should have known that there was a risk present because a reasonable individual would have noticed it in his inspections or caretaking
Possible Injuries from a Slip and Fall IncidentBecause of the wide array of ways that you can be involved in slip and fall accidents, there are just as many different types of injuries you can get. It is not uncommon for some people to suffer the same types of damages, but in other cases, the injuries are much more severe. A short list of some of the injuries we have seen while handling lawsuits can be found below:
- Broken bones (hip, arm, leg, wrist, fingers, neck, back, and more)
- Spinal cord injuries and neck damages
- Concussions and traumatic brain injuries
- Closed head injuries
- Sprains and dislocations of joints
- Torn muscles
- Nerve damage
- Bruising and abrasions
- Herniated, bulging, or slipped discs
Steps to Take after an Accident in a MallAn accident in a mall can be troubling; you may not know what to do and you may be in shock. If you try to rush or if you panic, you may find yourself ruining the chances of filing a claim because you did not do what needed to be done. If you follow this procedure, you will be sure to have the best chance of succeeding when you file a premises liability lawsuit against the mall.
- Get medical attention immediately to treat your injuries. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more difficult it is to prove that the injuries wee caused by the accident
- File an incident report with the mall
- Take pictures of your injuries
- Interview eyewitnesses and record their statements
- Ask for the insurance information of the relevant party or a way to contact someone to acquire the information
- Take photos of the hazard or dangerous area as quickly as possible so that the property owner cannot fix it quickly and deny that there was ever a problem
- Contact a skilled lawyer who can help you file a claim against the liable party
Call (213) 389-3765 to set up a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you have a case.
Settlement from a Slip and Fall IncidentA personal injury lawsuit or premises liability claim can only be filed if you were physically harmed in the accident. If so, you stand to gain numerous types of compensation, including:
- Coverage of medical bills and expenses from the past and the future (surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, and more)
- Reimbursement of lost wages from the past and the future
- Property damage coverage for items that were broken or lost in the incident
- Pain and suffering damages that affected your mental state after the accident (PTSD, fear, anxiety, psychological trauma, and more)