What Should You Do When You Slip and Fall in a Store?
Slip and falls can happen at anytime and anywhere in Colorado. Often, they occur in stores like Walmart, Target or Whole Foods while people are simply carrying out normal, day-to-day activities like shopping. As we have seen over the years at The Sawaya Law Firm, the negligence of store owners and their employees frequently serves as the cause of these accidents.
Here, we discuss why slip and falls happen in stores as well as the right of victims to hold negligent store owners accountable. More importantly, we focus on what victims can do in order to protect their ability to pursue just compensation for the injuries and losses which they suffer due to these preventable accidents.
To discuss the specific facts and circumstances of your case, contact us at The Sawaya Law Firm through our offices in Denver, Greeley or Colorado Springs. We have protected the rights of slip and fall injury victims throughout Colorado for more than 40 years. We can provide a free, timely and helpful consultation.
Why Do Slip and Falls Happen in Stores?
Many slip and fall accidents are the direct results of negligence on the part of the store owner or its employees. They are too busy with stocking shelves and ringing up sales to focus on addressing or warning customers about hazards such as:
- Dim lighting
- Wet, slippery floors due to spilled substances
- Uneven walkways
- Steep and narrow stairways
- Cluttered walkways
- Torn or uneven carpeting
- Pavement defects
- Exposed electrical cords and wires.
Can You File a Premises Liability Claim After a Store Slip and Fall?
If a store owner’s negligence causes you to suffer harm in a slip and fall, you may be able to bring a premises liability claim against the owner to recover damages. Premises liability depends on your status as an “invitee” on the premises. Under Colorado law, an invitee is a person who is present on property to transact business which is mutually beneficial to both the invitee and the store owner (or because the premises are open to the public).
As an invitee, you are owed the highest standard of care by the store owner. The owner must take certain precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of other invitees on the premises. This level of care includes maintaining the property in a reasonably safe condition. When a store owner is aware (or should be aware) of a hazard, the owner has a duty to correct the problem and make the premises safe. The owner also has a duty to adequately warn you of any unsafe conditions which the owner cannot immediately correct.
In a claim against a store, a key issue often is how long the hazard existed. For instance, if a puddle of spilled liquid sat on the floor in a store aisle for several hours, it would indicate that the store owner (or employees) were aware or should have been aware of the hazard. The store’s failure to clean up the liquid, block it off or warn customers about the spill could amount to negligence.
How Can You Protect Your Rights If You Are Hurt in a Slip and Fall at a Store?
To protect your rights after a slip and fall, you must act quickly. You should do your best to take the following steps:
- Get photos of the scene of the slip and fall. It is essential to promptly get photo documentation of the scene of your slip and fall accident. Make sure to photograph the unsafe conditions that contributed to your fall. Photo documentation can be used as evidence and will help your attorney.
- Get names and contact information of any witnesses. It is critical to get the names and contact information of anyone who was around during or after the accident for deposition and testimony purposes. Even if a witness did not actually see your fall, the witness may be able to provide information about what happened after the fall.
- File a report with the store. Follow the procedures for reporting an accident at the store. By filing a report, you will create a record of the incident. Stick to the basic facts when you report it. Make sure to note the date, time and exact location of where your slip and fall occurred.
- Get medical attention. It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately following a slip and fall – even if an injury does not initially seem to be serious. If you don’t have a record that you saw a doctor following the incident, it may be difficult to prove your injury was a result of a slip and fall.
- Keep everything. Hold on to your medical bills and other receipts as well as letters or e-mails from the insurance companies. The clothes you wore during the accident may also prove to be relevant pieces of evidence, so keep those as well.
- Refrain from speaking with the insurance company. You should refuse to give a statement to the store’s insurance company before you speak with a lawyer first. The insurance company is working in the interest of the store owner. The insurer may try to use your words against you so it can reduce your claim or deny it outright.
- Get help from a lawyer. As an invitee, you have to right to shop in a store that is safe from dangerous or hazardous conditions. If you suffered a slip and fall injury, your rights were violated, and the store owner’s breach of its duty to maintain safe premises should make the store responsible for your injuries. An attorney can help you to understand your rights and establish the store owner’s liability.
Consult with a Denver Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall injury in a store, you will need a skilled attorney fighting on your behalf. You shouldn’t have to endure the pain and financial hardship associated with a personal injury because of another’s negligence. An experienced slip and fall lawyer will help to ease your financial and emotional stress by diligently pursuing the compensation you deserve.
Since 1977, The Sawaya Law Firm has been dedicated to practicing injury law with one main objective – helping injured people or grieving family members who lost a loved one due to the negligence of others. As our client, we will manage your case from start to finish, keep you informed and maintain communication throughout the process. We will thoroughly investigate your case and deal with insurance companies on your behalf so that you can get back to your life. To learn more, call or reach us online today for a free consultation.