I was injured in a store. Should I take legal action?
Imagine you are in a grocery store picking up a few things before you head home from work. You’re talking on the phone to your spouse when, before you know it, you are on your back staring at the bright halogen lights. You begin to feel a searing pain in your back; a pain that will haunt you for years to come. So who is at-fault? What are your rights after you are injured in a store?
Regardless of whether you slipped and fell in a store, or were injured in some other way, there are some things you need to consider.
What Can I Do After the Injury?
First things first, you must decide if you’re going to take legal action. If you’ve gone as far as to search for an answer then you’ve probably considered it.
I don’t necessarily want to seek compensation from the organization. This is a generous path to take. Accidents DO happen and it’s common for individuals to sue just because they can; not because they really need the financial assistance for treatment of serious injuries. It wouldn’t hurt to try getting in touch with the person responsible for the premises and seeing if you can work something out on a personal level if you need help.
I am seeking compensation from the organization: Organizations become greatly experienced in the practice of law. They can’t grow to become a successful organization if they aren’t making money, and they can’t make any money if they have to spend it all paying off lawsuits. With that said, you need to be ready for a drawn-out battle and you’ll need some good defense to back up your injury claim.
There are a lot of factors which may nullify your claim, such as the direct or passive warning of possible risk. By participating in an activity which could cause harm AFTER being warned of the possibility of injury, you’re taking an assumption of risk and essentially waiving your tort legal rights. If they failed to warn you about something they knew about which could be dangerous—a slippery floor without a nearby “Wet Floor” sign, for example—they can be sued under failure to meet their “duty to warn” standards.
The factors above, and all the many different possible scenarios, create a complicated picture. And the best way to gain knowledge about your rights after being injured in a store is to speak to someone who excels in the study of it—and experienced premises liability attorney.)
What kinds of injuries can I sue for?
There’s no specific “limit” to the types of injuries that must be sustained to have a winning case, but here are some common examples of injuries that are commonly seen in personal injury cases after a slip and fall:
- Slip and Fall: Whether it be from a slick floor, a steep stair step, an uneven walking surface, or anything like that; the lack of safety has caused you to slip and fall.
- Furnishing/Equipment/Appliance Accidents: Accidents that occur from faulty, defective, broken, etc., equipment that you were not warned about. For example; if you take a product off of a shelf in a store and the shelf collapses onto you.
- Dog Bites: If you were an attendee at a property and a dog attacked you.
- Rape and/or Assault: Situations that could have been prevented if the property owner took proper security measures.
- Swimming Pool Accidents: If the pool had a jagged floor and you cut your foot open, for example, due to the property owner’s lack of inspection for hazards.
- Amusement Park Accidents: Unsafe rides and attractions that lead to injury or even death. Don’t think that just because they had a sign or warning that you’re completely unable to fight back; you may still have a strong case.
- Elevator/Escalator Accidents: This could be a double case here with both the property owner and the elevator manufacturer being responsible.
Whether you are an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
Keep in mind that these injuries are not limited to a store specifically. It’s a relatively complex system that places the victim under a certain title while attending the premises. When on someone else’s property, you’ll be considered either:
- An invitee: Someone who has been passively allowed inside the premises to conduct business. This ranges from going to buy a t-shirt from a clothing store to conducting paid physical labor to a private property (like mowing the lawn). The store example given at the beginning of this article makes you an invitee because the property owner expects and wants public customers to come inside. This is the most common type of premises liability case and businesses can be held accountable for any injuries receiving from dangers that they knew about or should have known about via proper inspection.
- A licensee: This is an attendee who is there strictly for personal purposes; hanging out at friend’s house, going to a dog park, etc. and does not plan on receiving or giving any services through or for a business. Since being a licensee usually means you’re a guest at a friend’s house or free public areas, the expectations are lowered quite a bit. Licensees can only hold property owners liable for dangers that the property owner knew about and failed to warn the licensee about.
- Or a trespasser: This is an individual who did not either a direct or implied form of invitation onto a premises but proceeds onto the private property anyway. Although property owners are not able to purposely withhold information—in the event that they’re aware of their presence—or harm these trespassers with traps or physical attacks (unless in self defense), they are extraordinarily less obligated to protect them than the other 2 attendees.
Will I be able to financially recover?
After being injured in a premise liability case and requiring medical attention, surgery, treatment, or anything of the like, you’ll be stuck with a whole lot of bills that will need paying. Before you can even consider starting a case, it’s best to be prepared for the road ahead. You’re going to need a lot of proof to win cases like these because big companies take big steps towards defending themselves in court with signs, waivers, etc. In the event that you win the case and the final judgment is in your favor, the winnings can be used towards things such as:
- Medical Bills: General medical bills that are the result of the injuries sustained.
- Lost Wages: These can be racked up from time you weren’t able to work. This can happen if you’re required to stay in the hospital or you simply don’t feel fit enough to go into work. Wages that you will no longer be able to obtain in the future due to certain injuries hindering your ability to continue your career can also be compensated as well, giving you plenty of time to find another career to make up for you loss.
- Pain and Suffering: Believe it or not, you can be compensated for physical or emotional loss which resulting due to the injury. The methods of compensation for this are usually determined by a jury and will change from person to person.
- Wrongful Death: This would occur if a loved one has died due in a premises liability case. The family would could be compensated for all of the above; pain and suffering being the family’s physical or emotion loss, and lost wages being those which would have been coming in from the deceased’s income to be used towards the family’s well being.
Contact our Clearwater & Tampa Bay Area Premises Liability Attorneys
Here in Clearwater, Florida where Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA’s main office is, we fight to ensure fair treatment to victims in premises liability cases. It’s the property owner’s responsibility to make sure that—in the event of inviting welcomed guest into his or her property—the premises is safe for the levels of activity that will be acted out. It’s unreasonable for a reputable company to fail at setting up a simple “Wet Floor” sign after mopping the floors. It’s unreasonable for a friend to not tell you that the chair you’re about to sit in is broken.
Accidents do happen and we understand that, but if you’re being denied assistance by the people responsible for these painful injuries you may need someone by your side who knows exactly how to deal with stressful situations like these. If you or a loved one has been injured on someone’s property due to their negligence or lack of care, contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today for a free case evaluation and consultation. You may be eligible for the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 727-451-6900.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756