If I slipped and fell in a store, are they responsible for my medical bills?

Premises liability is an area of the law that focuses on who should be held responsible in the event that someone is injured on a property owned by another party. This is most often relevant in personal injury cases involving a defective or unsafe condition on said property. Such a condition usually goes hand in hand with a claim of negligence put forward by the victim against the property owner. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident that took place in a retail establishment, you might win a personal injury lawsuit if you and your lawyer can prove the store owners were negligent.

Note that the key word is “negligent” as not all accidents are a result of another party’s negligence. For example, if a person neglects to properly lace their shoes and as a result they trip while in the produce aisle and hurt themselves, it was not the store owner who was negligent but rather the shopper. In that scenario, any injury sustained by the individual is their own fault and the store owner is not obligated to compensate them for their damages. However, if the store has employees who routinely mop the floors and leave them wet but do not cordon off the hazardous sections from customers and do not install cautionary signage, if someone slips and falls on the wet floor, the store might be held liable for damages.

Ultimately, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you will be best served by discussing your case with a slip and fall lawyer. After learning the details surrounding how you were injured, a lawyer can provide their opinion as to whether or not you may have a strong case against the store owner. 

What does “duty of care” mean?

In the context of premises liability, duty of care refers to the property owner’s legal obligation to make a reasonable effort to maintain the property so that it is safe for anyone who enters it. The details of premises law vary somewhat from state to state, but if you are a customer of a store, the owner has the responsibility to address any known hazards in order to keep you safe. However, if they are unaware of a problem, then they cannot be expected to fix it. This can be a grey area, and a frustrating one for persons who are injured on the property. Their slip and fall lawyer must prove that the property owner was not only aware of the problem– they also failed to address the hazard within a reasonable period of time. For example, if a customer dropped a carton of eggs on the floor and the eggs created a slippery surface, until an employee is notified of the hazard, the store is not necessarily liable if someone slips and falls. In addition, if an employee is notified about the slippery surface and goes to find a mop, in the time it takes them to get the mop, if someone slips and falls the store may not be liable for their damages.

To discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer in Ames, IA, give a law firm a call today. Thanks to Johnston Matineau, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and slip and fall accidents in stores.