Slip and Fall Accidents While Shopping

| March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

Avoiding Slip and Fall Accidents While Shopping
by David Perecman, Founder and Lead Trial Attorney at The Perecman Firm P.L.L.C.

Even though the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, shops are likely to remain just as busy with many seeking to make exchanges, returns, and take advantage of end-of-season sales. Of those who will be back in stores, Baby Boomers are likely to be among the brick and mortar shoppers. A 2016 report from COLLOQUY has revealed that the Baby Boomer generation is the most likely to shop in-store  – meaning that while younger generations are purchasing goods online from the comfort of their couch, Boomers are out in the elements, confronting crowded winter shopping and the various risks that accompany it. 

For Boomers, slips and fall accidents rank high among these risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four older adults reports falling each year, with 30,000 of these falls resulting in fatalities and about seven million causing serious injury. More concerning still, a 2019 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the risk of older Americans dying as the result of a fall has doubled since 2000. 

Grocery stores and shopping centers have a variety of slip and fall risks for shoppers of all ages. From icy entranceways to overcrowded shops, slippery floors, uneven staircases, raised or loose carpet and floorboards, poor lighting and broken railings, the possibilities for injury quickly add up. 

For older adults, a fall can sometimes more easily cause serious injuries, including broken and fractured bones and head injuries. To help prevent falls, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) suggests a few key pre-emptive steps, such as getting regular eye and ear exams and proper management of medications to ensure clear-headedness and balance. In addition, the NCOA emphasizes the value of walkers and canes – though they may seem like markers of dependence, they are designed to help individuals improve mobility.

Once out shopping, certain tactics can help counteract the risk of a slip and fall injury. Wearing sensible, supportive and weather-proof shoes will help keep you steady on uneven or difficult terrain. Bringing a younger relative along for the outing provides a strong arm to hold in case of slips, and a helping hand to retrieve out-of-reach items. Take advantage of the accessible resources that shopping centers offer, such as seating, escalators and elevators. 

Another option to cut down on time spent in hazardous shopping centers is to use “Click and Collect” programs, offered by a growing number of large and small retailers. These programs allow shoppers to browse and select items online. Once the items have been assembled, simply go to the store and to pick everything up from behind the register – avoiding the aisles altogether. 

Despite best efforts, accidents and falls may happen. If you take a fall, seek immediate medical attention. Your health should always be a top priority. Even if you initially feel fine after the fall, you may have sustained an internal injury that requires a medical professional’s assessment.   

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident that may have been caused by another individual or entity’s negligence, you may also have options for legal recourse. Landlords, property owners, and tenants (such as a store renting space within a mall) have a duty to provide reasonably safe premises. If a property owner or tenant caused the fall by creating a dangerous condition, negligently failing to correct a hazard, failing to maintain the property, or failing to adequately warn of dangers on the property, then they may be liable for any injuries you sustain as a result of those hazards.

To further support your legal claim, it is important to document the scene of your accident. If you are not too injured to do so yourself or if someone else with you is able, take pictures of the accident scene using your mobile phone. Be sure to capture photos of the condition and scene from multiple angles and the surrounding area. If you fell on cracked pavement, also include pictures of the street and the nearest cross street to show the exact location of the incident. These photos may serve as important evidence if you choose to report the hazard or pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Also, gather the names and contact information for any witnesses and, if an accident report was created, get a copy.

It is important to document your medical treatment as well. Should you take legal action, an accurate report of your medical treatment after the fall can show a correlation between the fall and your injuries.

Though the idea of becoming involved in legal action after a painful fall may not be ideal, a court’s award of compensation in these proceedings can provide vital financial support for present and future medical bills, as well as supplementing any loss of wages and offering remittance for pain and suffering. In the tragic event that an individual falls and suffers fatal injuries, compensation may also be awarded to some of the deceased’s surviving family members through a wrongful death action. 

While no one thinks they could be a victim of a slip and fall while out shopping, the truth is these types of accidents are very common, so it’s important to be prepared and take proper precautions. Should you be injured due to another’s negligence, make sure to consult an attorney who can advise you of your legal rights and remedies.

About David Perecman
David Perecman, Founder and Lead Trial Attorney at The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is a distinguished New York attorney who concentrates his practice in all aspects of personal injury law, including construction accidents, premises liability, automobile accidents, medical malpractice, as well as employment discrimination, false arrest, and civil rights matters. He has successfully represented individuals who were seriously injured and the surviving family members of those who were fatally injured and has helped to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation on their behalf. The Perecman Firm is a full-service personal injury law firm with offices in New York, New York, and Jericho, New York. For more information, visit www.perecman.com. 

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