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With the spring season now upon us, people throughout the region will undoubtedly be looking to stretch their legs and leave winter behind them. Stores and retail outlets are likely to see a boost in sales over the next few weeks and months, but with more customers out and about, there will also be an increased risk of shopping injury. Wet floors, tripping hazards like extension cords, and falling merchandise can all pose serious threats to shoppers. Fortunately, the legal system provides protection—known as premises liability—for those injured on the property of another. At its most basic, premises liability laws require landowners to make sure that their property is safe for other people to enter, but other complications do often arise.
Although people do not often think of shopping as a dangerous activity unless they are lining up for a Black Friday sale, even “normal” shopping can result in a variety of injuries. The most common injuries are the result of slips and trips due to puddles, tripping hazards or poorly maintained floors. These sorts of shopping hazards can result in sprains, bruises, broken bones, and back injuries, but shoppers can experience even more severe injuries.
Many stores, especially warehouse stores and big box appliance retailers, have begun stacking merchandise higher and higher to maximize their storage space. These towers of heavy boxes present serious dangers to shoppers, and many customers have suffered injuries due to this practice. The stacks of merchandise are often unstable, so the boxes can fall when a cart bumps into the rack or when a shopper or store employee tries to retrieve an item. If a falling box hits a shopper, it could result in traumatic brain injuries, which can cause concussions, headaches, nausea, vomiting, strokes, seizures, and even coma or death in more severe circumstances. When these sorts of injuries occur, it is important to understand the store's duties.
A Store’s Duties
The premises liability doctrine places different duties on different types of landowners. Businesses who invite consumers onto their land to shop have the highest duties of any type. The store must take due care to avoid harming shoppers due to environmental hazards. They must also to take care to warn shoppers about non-obvious hazards that may pose a danger to them. Stores are also required to place safeguards around hazards such as open holes to make them less dangerous for consumers. They have a duty to inspect their premises for dangerous conditions, and they would be liable for conditions that they could have discovered through a reasonable inspection of their stores.
Protect Your Rights
If you have been injured while in a grocery store, department store, or any other retail outlet, it is important to seek legal guidance quickly so that your rights are fully protected. Contact an experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney at Martoccio & Martoccio for a free consultation today. Call 630-920-8855 to get the help you need in seeking the compensation you deserve.