Many people have been shopping at least once in a large retail store. They are often incredibly crowded and busy. They can also be incredibly unsafe. The crowded and busy conditions create the opportunity for customers to be harmed all too often.
Big Box Retailers
Big box retailers create an environment, which until recently, did not exist. To be sure, a store may have revenue well in excess of $100 million a year and take care of more than 100,000 customers in a week. The stores run the gamut in size and may range anywhere from 100,000 to over 500,000 square feet. All of this creates a unique set of circumstances that often put those customers in danger. The incredible volume and size of these buildings create the opportunity for slip and falls on an almost continuous basis. Packaging on the floor, spills, leaning merchandise and other hazards are created more frequently and, because of the pace in the retail environment, are more frequently ignored. Also problematic is the fact that, even as the stores and volume grow in size, the amount of trained staffing is barely adequate to take care of serving customers and stocking shelves, much less looking out for hazards and remedying them in a timely manner.
Slip And Falls
There are many hazards inside a retail building that pose a risk of causing slip and falls. These include:
- Packaging and strapping left on the floor either by employees or other customers;
- Leaky ceilings that create wet spots on the floor;
- Leaning and protruding merchandise that creates a trip hazard;
- Narrow walkways and aisles created by too much merchandise on the floor thereby creating a trip hazard; and
- Uneven floor conditions.
Retailers are cognizant of these hazards. In most big box retailers, there are policies in place that require employees to be on the lookout for slip and fall hazards. There may also be policies that require associates to immediately remedy the hazardous situation and, if they cannot fix the situation, to immediately report the issue to the management team of the store.
Proof In a Slip and Fall Case
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on the property of a retailer, you have to prove three things if your case goes to trial.
First, you must prove that the property owner owed you a duty of care. Ultimately, if the retailer was open for business, it is presumed that you were there to do business and that is viewed under the law in Florida as if they have invited you on the property.
Second, you must prove that the retailer did not take reasonable care in making their property safe for customers. For example, if the retailer has a policy that at 30 minutes after each hour associates must check their areas for hazards and they consistently fail to do so, the retailer may not have exercised reasonable care.
Finally, you must prove that because the retailer did not use reasonable care, you were injured.
It also must be noted that Florida law sets out a retailer’s responsibility to clean up transitory foreign substances. If this is the root of the slip and fall injury, you must also prove that the retailer had actual or constructive notice of the danger.
Slip and fall injuries at big box retailers can be incredibly complex cases. Companies that operate these stores want to hang on to every penny of profit they make even if they are to blame for customers’ injuries. In cases like this, it is incredibly important to choose the right personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Fasig & Brooks have decades of experience zealously representing their clients’ interests. We know how complex this type of injury case can help you today. If you have been hurt in the Tallahassee area in a slip and fall accident, call us at (850) 222-3232 to set up your free consultation.