When people in Tallahassee go to various stores, they usually are focused on the items that they are looking to purchase. That is also what store owners want their customers focused on as well. However, there are various hazards that may be present inside a store for a variety of reasons. This could be something fell off a shelf and broke creating a slippery surface. It may be an object in the middle of an aisle or employees leaving various equipment in an unsafe place and many other different types of hazards.
If people fall because of a slippery floor or trip over an object that should not be in a certain location, they can suffer significant injuries as well. This can include broken bones, dislocations, sprains, brain injuries and others. This can create significant physical hardships for the victim. It can also create financial difficulties for the victim as well. Medical bills can add up quickly and they could lose income as well if they are unable to work.
Proving store owner liability
While store owners do have a responsibility to keep their stores safe for their customers, they are not automatically liable for every accident that occurs and the injuries that may result. There are certain elements that the victim must prove to hold the store owner accountable.
- The victim must prove that the store owner or its employees had actual knowledge of the hazard or constructive knowledge of the hazard; and
- Failed to remedy it by cleaning it up or warning the customers of the hazard to keep them away from it.
Actual knowledge is more obvious, but to prove a store owner had constructive knowledge victims must demonstrate that:
- That the hazard had been there for a length of time, that the owner or an employee should have noticed it through ordinary care; or
- It was a hazard that was a regular occurrence and should have been known.
Legal recourse for slip-and-fall injuries
It is understandable that hazards will occur in stores from time to time. Store owners will not be able to prevent every hazard from occurring, but they do need to protect customers from them when they do occur. This does not always happen though and sometimes customers suffer significant injuries. These can be complicated, fact-specific matters though and consulting with experienced attorneys could beneficial.