Something that no person wants to declare about themselves is, “I got hurt in a retail store,” but if you do slip and fall while shopping in one of Las Vegas’ many retail establishments, you may be left asking, “I fell in a store, what should I do?” The answer may not be clear, especially in the immediate chaotic aftermath of your accident.
Slips and falls in public can be embarrassing occurrences, and they often lead to significant injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slips, trips, and falls commonly occur in retail establishments that are open to the public. It is also common that these incidents are the result of negligence, either on the part of the store’s owners, employees, or the property owner themself.
With that all being said, should you find yourself in the unenviable position of saying, “I got hurt in a retail store,” you should know that you may have legal rights. Bay Law Accident Attorneys is here and ready to help you take control of your situation. Let us help investigate your accident, file an insurance claim, and pursue a lawsuit for monetary damages, all while you focus on healing from your injuries.
Assuming you are medically able to, the first thing you will want to do is gather as much evidence and pictures of the scene and find a manager or store employee to report the slip to so that an incident report can be filed. Keep a copy or picture of the incident report for your own records. Then promptly seek medical advice, then seek legal advice.
Suing for Falling in a Store
What happens when you are injured in a store? You should explore whether you have the legal right to compensation for your injuries. You’ll exercise these rights by filing a lawsuit against those responsible for the accident. Responsible parties, as mentioned above, may include a store employee, the store’s manager or general manager, or even the property owner.
Understanding how to sue a retail store begins by investigating the precise cause of your slip and fall, a process that will help Bay Law, your Nevada personal injury lawyers, understand who is/are accountable.
A slip and fall in an open and easily-accessible part of the store, for instance, may involve a number of different parties as opposed to a case where a contractor’s electrical power cord was left strung across a walk area. The location within the store where the accident took place can also impact your case and recovery options. Once a store is put on notice of the fall through your incident report, and once they are further put on notice that you are represented by Bay Law Accident Attorneys and that a lawsuit must be filed—the store is obligated to preserve any evidence they have including any surveillance video. Failure to report the fall and failure to seek out legal representation means a lot of evidence including videos may be deleted or destroyed as part of routine procedures.
Pursuing & Winning a Slip & Fall Lawsuit
Pursuing and winning a slip and fall lawsuit generally requires you to show that the property owner, manager, or an employee failed to take reasonable steps to make the store safe for you, the customer. You must also prove that the person responsible did not search the property to see if dangers existed or take reasonable steps to clean up a hazard that they knew or should have known about.
If you’re successful, you can recover damages to help pay for your medical bills, wages you could not earn from work given that you were recuperating from your injuries, and for the pain and suffering that you experienced as a direct result of your accident. Our team of experienced lawyers is here to help guide you through each step of the process, from filing your claim to securing compensation.
Common Causes of Retail Store Negligence Injuries
Some of the most common causes of a slip and fall injuries at retail stores include the following:
- Liquid spills and cleaning products that are not properly mopped
- Leaks from bathrooms or other water pipes that are not contained
- Cords, ropes, or other trip hazards left in walkways
- Snow and ice tracked in by customers that is not cleaned up promptly
Failing to detect these hazards and clean them up, or at least warn customers about them, is likely retail store negligence and can be cause for a lawsuit.
A publication done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found a troubling increase in the number of retail workplace injuries. According to the BLS’s data, falls, slips, and trips collectively made up the third-most-common workplace injury in the retail industry. If slips and falls injure such a considerable number of employees every year, just think of how many customers and members of the public suffer similar harm.
Can I Sue for Falling in a Retail Store?
If you find yourself saying, “I got hurt in a retail store,” and are left with medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma as a result of a slip and fall in a store, you may be worried about how you can pay these expenses and costs.
Your very next action will likely be to ask, “Is a store liable for a customer injury?” or “Is the store responsible for paying me damages?” Your ability to sue and obtain damages after a retail slip and fall accident depends on what steps the store took to make its premises safe, if any.
Given that a retail store implicitly invites customers to enter its premises to shop, its staff has an obligation to make reasonable, periodic inspections of its premises throughout the day, and in doing so, they should be looking for any real or potential hazards that could endanger the safety of customers such as yourself.
Should a hazard be detected, the law requires the store to take reasonable steps to fix it or do what they can to warn customers about it. Therefore, you would expect to see wet floor signs around a spill or see an aisle roped off if merchandise fell and opened onto the floor.
The store must do more than simply identify hazards and dangers, though, and take reasonable steps to correct the problem. These would include, for instance, mopping up the spill or picking up the fallen merchandise in a timely manner. Larger, more complicated dangers, like faulty electrical wiring, may require additional time to correct.
If the store fails to conduct a reasonable search for these hazards, or if they fail to take reasonable measures to fix the danger that went on to cause your slip and fall, the store can be held responsible for your injuries.
What to Do if You Slip and Fall in a Store in Nevada
No one plans to slip and fall in a retail store. These accidents happen suddenly and without any advance warning, so, as a result, you may be ill-prepared for what to do after your accident occurs. Such unpreparedness can lead to further harm, not just physically but also to your legal rights and ability to recover compensation.
Therefore, the question becomes a matter of what to do if you slip and fall in a store. It is crucial to both your health and legal rights that you take the appropriate steps following a fall in a retail store. These steps include the following:
Make Sure Your Health and Safety Is Okay
First and foremost, before you do anything else, take note of your physical health and any injuries you sustained in the fall. If you hit your head, blacked out, or came to find that a bone appears to be broken, ask for emergency medical assistance. If you are not sure how serious your injuries are, it is often safest to assume the worst and request immediate medical attention.
If it hurts to move your body, or if you feel tingling or numbness in your extremities, do not move or allow yourself to be moved unless it is absolutely necessary. These symptoms may indicate damage to your spinal cord, which can be exacerbated by unnecessary and unstabilized movement of your body.
Be aware of any environmental hazards that can threaten your safety as well. If you slip on a puddle of water or other liquid and you see electrical cables nearby, you should move out of the way as quickly as possible. Similarly, if you slip on a puddle of cleaning fluid, remember that some of these chemical cleansers can be harmful to bare skin.
No matter the circumstances of your retail store slip and fall, your first priority should be ensuring that you are safe from immediate danger and that your injuries receive prompt and qualified treatment.
Consider the Possibility of Retail Negligence Liability at Play
It is a common assumption that if you slip and fall, you are wholly to blame for the accident. You may believe that you should have been watching your step or that if you had only been more careful, you would not have slipped and hurt yourself.
Clear your mind of such thinking, as it’s thoughts just like those that can lead you to ignore the legal rights you may be entitled to. Saying that an accident could have been avoided if you exercised additional care is mere speculation, and it does not excuse a store owner from failing to live up to the legal obligations their store has to its customers. Do not automatically discount the possibility that the store’s own carelessness played a role in your accident.
Gather as Much Evidence as Possible at the Site of the Injury
If your health and safety allow it, try to gather details about the accident. Once it occurs, the store will take notice and try to clean up the cause of the accident as quickly as possible. When it does, important details that can be used to explain the details of your fall will be lost, and if you are not able to gather evidence at the scene, it may be difficult or impossible to reproduce later.
Take photographs of the scene, including the hazard that caused your slip and any surrounding warning signs. If there are no warning signs, document that through your photographs as well. If you have visible injuries, take pictures of these, as the appearance of visible injuries can change over time and with treatment. Enlist the help of others in taking pictures if you cannot take the photos yourself: Just make sure that you retain control over the photographs.
Speak to Witnesses
Your slip and fall is likely to garner attention from several bystanders. Speak to them and identify who among them witnessed your slip and fall. You need to find out whether anyone else saw the hazard that caused your accident or if anyone observed a lack of warning signs around the spill or dangerous area.
You do not need to conduct an in-depth interrogation of these witnesses, but you should take note of their names, contact information, and a synopsis of their observations to share about your accident.
Speak with the Store Manager
If the store manager has not responded to the location of your slip and fall, demand to speak with them. Make a note of the manager’s name and official title, whether they are the general manager, the store owner, or an on-duty manager. Their knowledge and information will be extremely important to the success of your case, and a manager can also provide you with the name and contact information of their insurance carrier.
Do not discuss the case itself with the manager on the scene, nor the extent of your injuries. Do not admit fault for your slip and fall. Do not discuss any store injury settlements with the manager until you have learned the true extent of your injuries and spoken with a qualified attorney about your rights. In all instances make sure to fill out an incident report identifying what happened.
Follow Up with Insurance and Contact a Slip and Fall Lawyer
The days and weeks following your slip and fall accident will be filled with continued treatment of any moderate or severe injuries and considering the decision of whether to exercise your legal rights. Once the immediate emergency of your slip and fall is over, these are the next steps you should take:
Seek Medical Help
If you were not taken to the hospital via ambulance after your fall, get to a hospital or doctor’s office as soon as possible. It is possible that you sustained injuries that you simply cannot see or that have not begun to manifest symptoms. Treating things like internal bleeding and traumatic brain injuries early is essential to a good prognosis.
Make sure to keep follow-up appointments as directed, too. You will not achieve your maximum potential physical recovery if you are not sticking to your doctors’ appointments and following treatment recommendations.
Keep all documents, letters, and other papers about your accident, including your medical bills, pay stubs from your employer for periods of work you missed, and any communications the store has with you, in a safe and easily-accessible location. If you incur any expense in relation to your injury, it should go into your collection of documents.
Your medical records should also be kept and stored in that same secure location. These will include any records you receive from the hospital, your follow-up doctors, and any counselor or therapist you need to see because of the accident.
Having these papers handy for your personal injury lawyer can help expedite an insurance claim and lawsuit if necessary. It will also help you and your attorney get a better picture of the true extent of your losses and what an appropriate settlement figure might be.
File an Insurance Claim
File an insurance claim against the store’s insurance company as soon as possible. Doing so swiftly helps get the ball rolling toward you receiving compensation. A timely-filed insurance claim may not provide you with all the financial help you need, but it can get you compensation quickly as your lawsuit progresses through civil courts.
Speak to a Slip and Fall Attorney
Essential to the process of how to sue a store for injury is the help of an experienced lawyer. As soon as you are able to do so, you should make an appointment and speak with a Las Vegas retail store slip and fall lawyer.
The sooner you retain an attorney, the quicker they can get to work protecting crucial evidence from destruction and pursuing your claim for compensation. Furthermore, an experienced attorney can also give clients an advantage in negotiating retail store negligence settlements.
Nevada Slip and Fall Laws
There are several Nevada slip and fall laws that may apply to your case. Your attorney is best equipped to discuss with you how these laws might apply in your case, and understanding the application of these laws will help you have a better appreciation of potential challenges your case may encounter.
Nevada Revised Statutes, section 11.190, gives retail slip and fall injury victims two years from the date of their accident to initiate a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you do not commence your lawsuit within that time, you may lose your right to pursue a lawsuit or receive any compensation.
Additionally, Nevada Revised Statutes, section 41.141, may limit your ability to recover full compensation after a slip and fall. If you were partially negligent and contributed to the accident, the court can reduce your damages award in proportion to your fault. If the court finds that you were the primary cause of the slip and fall, you may be denied a financial recovery altogether.
Retail Negligence in Stores Reveals a Lack of Duty of Care
No customer should ever have to say, “I got hurt in a retail store,” but some, just like you, can be and are injured in shops and retail establishments throughout Nevada. These incidents typically occur because someone — be they an employee, a manager, or a property owner — acted carelessly in addressing dangers on the property. Such negligence is a breach of that person’s duty of care, which exposes them and their employer to legal liability.
Contact Bay Law Accident Attorneys to Speak with a Lawyer Today
If you find yourself saying, “I got hurt in a retail store,” and you are left wondering what to do if you are injured in a store, it is time to turn to Bay Law Accident Attorneys. Our Las Vegas slip and fall attorneys are ready to help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.