Holding Retail Stores Accountable in Premises Liability Claims

Premises Liability | February 15, 2023

Stores and retail outlets could hold liability for various types of injuries that occur on their premises. The owners and operators of these stores and outlets owe a duty of care to any person who has a right to be on the property, including guests, vendors, contractors, and others. Here, we want to discuss some of the common types of premises liability injuries that occur at retail stores as well as whether or not these locations can be held accountable for injuries.

Holding Retail Stores Accountable in Premises Liability Claims

Most Common Causes of Retail Store Injuries

There are various types of injuries that can occur at retail stores. As we mentioned, these injuries can occur to anyone on the property, but only individuals who have a right to be on the premises can recover compensation in these cases. In other words, trespassers will likely not be able to recover compensation if they sustain an injury.

Some of the most common ways that injuries occur include:

  • Objects falling off of shelves or other higher areas
  • Slip and fall injuries caused by hazards along pedestrian walkways
  • Poorly designed or faulty stairs, ramps, elevators, or escalators
  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals
  • Ingestion of unsafe food or beverages (if samples or in-house consumption is available)
  • Electrocution caused by exposed wires or unsafe outlets

This is certainly not a complete list of the ways injuries occur at retail stores. Individuals can sustain various types of injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, spinal cord trauma, broken bones, lacerations, sprains or strains, food poisoning, and more.

Holding the Store Responsible

In order to hold a retail store accountable, it must be shown that the defendant (the owner or operator or an employee) owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. This duty will exist if the plaintiff was lawfully on the premises at the time the incident occurred.

After establishing that there was indeed a duty of care, it must be shown that there was a breach of duty by the defendant. This breach of duty can occur in a wide variety of ways, including the owner or operator knowing about a hazard and failing to remedy the issue, failing to regularly inspect or maintain the premises, or even knowingly putting a patron at risk of harm. If it can be shown that there was a breach of duty, it must also be proven that the breach directly or indirectly caused the plaintiff’s injury or illness.

The last step in determining store owner or operator negligence is showing that the plaintiff suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of their injury or illness. This can include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

Will an Attorney be Required?

Any person harmed due to the negligent actions of a store owner or operator should work with a skilled premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. These claims are challenging, particularly when store owners and operators try to push back against the claim. Legal teams for the defendant may try to shift some or all of the blame for the retail store incident onto the plaintiff. When an attorney gets involved, they will fully investigate the claim, handle all communication with every party involved, and work to negotiate a fair settlement for their client.