Trip-and-fall accidents that occur at retail establishments can cause serious injuries that can impact your life for years to come. However, you may be able to recover damages from the store owner and other parties responsible for your accident by filing a premises liability claim. If you decide to file a claim, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Store owners are only required to act reasonably
It is a common misconception that store owners are required to go above and beyond to ensure the safety of their customers. However, this is not the case. Customers are legally classified as ‘business invitees’ meaning that Georgia retailers must exercise ordinary care to ensure the store premises are reasonably safe for customers. This could mean taking reasonable steps to inspect the premises and maintain the premises by remedying hazards (e.g., wet floor, aisle obstructions, uneven carpeting) they discover that may cause injury to a customer. If a store owner does not act reasonably, they may be liable for any trip-and-fall accidents that occur on the premises.
Trip-and-falls can occur anywhere on the premises
Retailers can be liable for accidents that occur both inside and outside the store. Many accidents occur outside in the parking lot and on the walkways near the store entrance, as well as inside, in the restrooms, checkout areas, entrance/exit areas, and aisles.
The store may blame you for the accident
If you bring a legal claim against the store owner, they may defend themselves by alleging that your own negligence caused the accident. Many customers who have been injured in a trip-and-fall may have failed to pay attention while walking, used a cell phone while walking, or worn shoes or clothing (e.g., shoes with worn out soles, pants that are too long) that made them more likely to fall. However, under Georgia’s modified comparative fault laws, you can still recover damages if you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. Your damages will be reduced based on the percentage of fault apportioned to you by a jury or judge.
Filing a premises liability claim against a major retailer can be intimidating without the help of experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can represent you every step of the way and give you the best chance to win your case.