Slip and Fall Injuries in Stores
Slip and falls account for more than 8 million hospital visits every year and about one in every five admissions. Slip and fall injuries in stores in Virginia occur with alarming regularity.
Stores are busy and chaotic places. Liquids are often spilled in the aisles and cleaners leave slick surfaces. Other hazards in stores include uneven rugs, boxes, stairs and ice in parking lots. The store owners and managers are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors whether they are visiting a big box store or a mom and pop outlet in the town center.
People who sustain slip and fall injuries in stores may have grounds to sue the retailers depending on the circumstances of the accident. These cases are often complicated. You should talk to an experienced Virginia slip and fall lawyer if you or a family member ends up injured at a store.
Slip and Fall Injuries in Virginia Stores and Broken Bones
Falls are a major cause of broken bones, particularly in older people. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for 87% of all fractures among people aged 65 or older. Older people often suffer broken wrists when they try to stop a fall as well as leg fractures.
Slip and Falls in Virginia Stores and Brain Injuries
Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, states the Mayo Clinic. Children and older people are particularly vulnerable.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls cause about 28 percent of all traumatic brain injuries. The second highest cause is motor vehicle crashes which cause 20 percent of TBIs.
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury in a fall in a Virginia store, you will need to recover as much money as possible to cover medical bills.
Unfortunately, stores will often fight you all the way. Slip and fall cases are not easy to win in Virginia.
What Must be Proved After Slip and Falls in Stores
Was the Slip Hazard Obvious?
If a spilled liquid is clearly visible, the victim should have seen it and can be judged to be contributorily negligent. One of the first questions in slip and fall cases is whether the obstacle was “open and obvious.”
Did Store Staff Have the Opportunity to Clean up or Remove the Hazard?
If a shopper falls on a liquid that has been spilled recently, the store may argue its workers did not know of the spill and lacked the time to deal with it. However, if a spill remains for a while and staff fail to address the problem, the store can be held liable.
Were Warnings Posted?
Usually, staff who clean floors put prominent yellow warnings about a wet surface near the wet area. This can clear the store of liability if the notices are clearly visible.
Did the Plaintiff Contribute to their Injury?
In some cases, the person who sustained the injury contributed to the accident. For example, a child who is running in a store or an adult who is checking his phone and missed a spill may contribute to his accident and be unable to make a claim.
Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall in a Store
If you get injured in a slip and fall accident in a store you should take the following steps.
1. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible
Aways seek medical treatment immediately after an accident. It’s important to get an evaluation from a medical profession and to keep documentation of your treatment for a possible lawsuit.
2. Report the accident
Report the accident to the store. Ask the owner or the manager to make a written report and get a copy.
3. Gather evidence
Document everything from the place where you fell. Take pictures of with floors, spills or obstacles you may have fallen over. Note the exact location and the time and get witness statements and details if possible.
4. Don’t give written or recorded statements
Avoid making statements to the store’s insurance company or making any incriminating statements.
5. Talk to a slip and fall lawyer.
Slip and fall accidents at stores can be complicated. Insurance companies for stores are less likely to make payouts than auto insurers. An experienced Virginia slip and fall lawyer can advise you on the best course of action and take on your case if necessary. Please contact the Smith Law Center at 757.244.7000.