Shopping centers and malls are designed to make your shopping experience easier. In the biggest of malls, such as King of Prussia, hundreds of stores can
be found all in the same location, offering a wide variety of choices to the shoppers that visit.
Sadly, for some shoppers, life doesn’t become easier after they get to the mall. There are hidden dangers that cause slip and fall accidents every day. While some people are able to get up and dust themselves off, many are not so lucky.
Common Causes Of Trip & Falls In Malls
Mall owners, store owners, employees, and maintenance companies all owe those who are visiting mall property a duty of care. This means that they have a legal obligation to do everything within their power to ensure that visitors to their property are kept safe from foreseeable accidents.
When this duty of care is breached, the party responsible can be held liable for their negligence. There are many ways in which negligence can result in a slip and fall accident:
Uneven And Cracked Pavement
In Philadelphia, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. Specifically, Section 11-505 states that:
“The sidewalks of the all public streets, and the roadways and sidewalks of all private streets, shall be graded, paved, and kept in repair at the expense of the owners of the land fronting thereon,”
If the sidewalk is broken or uneven, and this defect causes someone to fall and become injured, the property owner may be held liable.
Snow And Ice
Snow and ice are one of the leading causes of slip and fall accidents. Property owners and maintenance companies are responsible for removing these hazards from the sidewalks and parking lots of a shopping center in a timely manner.
Unsecured Electrical Cords
Electrical cords are a common sight in malls. Employees use them regularly to power vacuums, floor polishers, light displays, and more. When distracted by all of the window displays and commotion, it’s easy for a shopper to not notice the cord.
There are hundreds of steps inside of any mall – both inside of the stores and in the common hallway. Broken boards, inadequate lighting, and defective handrails can all lead to a shopper losing their balance and falling – sometimes down several flights of stairs. Trip and fall accidents on stairs can result in very serious injuries such as broken bones or traumatic brain injury.
Every day, drinks and products containing liquids spill onto the floor by accident. It can be very difficult for someone to see that liquid on certain surfaces, but easy to fall when they step in it. It is the responsibility of the store managers and employees to make sure that any liquids spilled are cleaned up as quickly as possible, and that caution signs are placed around the wet area.
It might seem easy to step onto an escalator and take a ride between levels. But escalators are machines and every machine has the potential to malfunction.
Clothing, displays, toys, and other items can all fall and create a potential hazard in the aisles for shoppers.
The bottom line is, that if you are seriously injured after a slip and fall, no matter what the cause, you may be able to seek compensation from the party responsible.
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Taking Steps To Protect Yourself
Anyone who has fallen should take the following steps to protect themselves – even if they don’t suspect that they are seriously injured at the time:
- Ask For Help From Security
Seek assistance from a security guard. Let them know that you fell, show them where you fell, and what it was that caused your fall. Make sure that they file a report and be sure to obtain a copy of that report.
- Ask For Medical Care
Request medical attention or have a friend take you to the doctor immediately.While it may seem like your injuries aren’t severe, some injuries may not become apparent for days or even weeks after the accident.
- Take Photographs Of The Scene
If you are able, take pictures of the location where you fell from multiple angles. Keep digital copies of the pictures on file as well as printed copies in your personal records.
- Obtain Witness Contact Information
If anyone witnessed your accident, be sure to obtain their contact information. Ask them if they would be willing to write a statement detailing what they saw.
- Check For Security Cameras
It is very important that you request copies of any surveillance video immediately. Often this video “disappears” before the victim can get a copy. It may be wise to retain the services of a personal injury attorney who can ensure that this does not happen.
- Keep Copies Of All Medical Records And Bills
Keep multiple copies of all medical records, bills, and out of pocket expenses.
The Mall’s Insurance Company Called – Should I Talk To Them?
You should not talk to any insurance adjusters before you consult with a personal injury attorney. Any statements you make to an adjuster will be recorded, and these statements can be used to deny your claim.
An experienced attorney can guide you through the process of making a statement and let you know which questions you do, or do not, need to answer.
If I File A Lawsuit Will I Need To Go To Court?
While many slip and fall cases can be settled out of court during mediation, it is possible that your case may have to go to trial. Our team of experienced, passionate, and knowledgeable lawyers will fight tirelessly for your rights if this is how things proceed.
How Long Do I Have To Decide If I Want To File?
While it is important to always file as soon as possible, victims do have two years from the date of the accident to file a slip and fall lawsuit. If the complaint is not filed during this period of time, the victim may lose the right to seek compensation for their injuries.