What to Know If You’re Injured in a Retail Store

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What to Know If You’re Injured in a Retail Store


Customers who visit retail businesses have a right to expect safe conditions in and around the store. If you're injured in a store due to a slip and fall accident, damaged shelves, fallen objects, or faulty doors, staircases, elevators, or other equipment, you may be entitled to compensation from the store depending on how the accident occurred.

What Are Premises Liability Claims?

Premises liability claims arise when someone is hurt on another's property, such as a business. Customers at a retail store are considered to be business invitees in the eyes of the law, which means they are people who have been invited onto the business's premises. This means the business owes you a safe environment.

If you're hurt at a store in an accident due to something that was a result of the store owner's or staff's negligence, you may be able to collect damages from the property owner for any injuries from the accident.

What Kind of Damages Can You Seek?

Plaintiffs in personal injury cases resulting from accidents in retail stores can seek two different types of damages: economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages compensate you for actual money you spent or lost due to the accident and your injuries. Medical bills and lost wages from time off work are common types of economic damages awarded in personal injury lawsuits.

Noneconomic damages are often referred to as "pain and suffering." These damages compensate you for physical, mental, or emotional pain and anguish you sustained because of the accident or your injuries, medical treatment, and healing time. Pain and suffering damages can be awarded for both past and future pain.

How Can You Prove Negligence?

It can be difficult to prove that a retail store was negligent and caused a hazard that led to an accident. In general, you'll need to prove that a hazard caused your accident and that the property owner knew about or should have known about the potential harm it could cause. 

If the owner did know about the potential harm, you'll need to show that the property owner didn't take reasonable care to prevent the hazard from injuring others.

For example, you could try to show that a liquid on the floor that caused a slip and fall accident was reported to the store staff and they did not clean it up or put up a warning sign around the spill. 

Even if the store didn't know about a potential safety hazard, you may still be able to prove negligence if you can show that someone should have known about it if proper checks had been conducted.

Proving negligence on the part of a retail store is best done with the help of a personal injury lawyer.

What About Comparative Negligence?

Pennsylvania is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that in order to recover damages in a personal injury case you need to show that you weren't more than 50 percent at fault for the accident. 

Property owners involved in lawsuits that deal with retail store accidents might try to argue that the accident was your fault by using various defenses, such as stating you were in an area customers weren't permitted to access, you weren't paying attention because of a distraction such as your phone, or you failed to heed warning signs around the hazard.

If you are found to be partially at fault, your damages will be reduced by your determined fault percentage.

Pennsylvania's statute of limitations for premises liability cases is two years, so if you've been injured in a store, it's best to seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Clearfield & Associates is a personal injury firm that serves clients in Chester, Parkside, Aston, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you've been injured in an accident at a retail store, contact us today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. 


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