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If you are injured at a store, what should you do? You should know that the store is, by New Jersey and Pennsylvania law, obligated to ensure a safe environment for its shoppers, staff and other visitors. Often, stores fail to do so, resulting in needless hazards. Nine out of ten customer accidents in retail stores are caused by the negligence of the store. This statistic derives from our federal government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Persons of all ages are victims of store injuries, from infants to senior citizens. The very young, the infirm and our older citizens are especially vulnerable to careless store proprietors. If you fall victim to one of these accidents, it’s important to meet with a New Jersey premises liability attorney
When retail stores and other businesses fail to meet their safety obligations, the store may be obligated to pay restitution, in the form of money, to the victim. In the law, lawyers and judges typically refer to the personal injuries and economic injuries involved as "damages." The variety of hazards and the nature of injuries in stores is vast. Persons who make a legal claim against a store help not only themselves, but also help to prevent others from injury in the future. This is because the legal claim often results in improved safety measures, thereby preventing or minimizing future injury incidences.
The law protects nearly every person on the property of the store, whether inside the building structures or outside those buildings:
When an employee of the store is injured, that employee automatically has legal rights to worker's compensation benefits, regardless of fault. That employee may have additional rights to seek monetary compensation from the person and/or business at fault, if the negligent person or business is not the victim's employer.
The store is obligated to exercise reasonable care in making its store safe. In some instances, the store actually creates a danger. A top-heavy merchandise display, as constructed, which collapses upon a customer is an example of such a circumstance. In other instances, a store may passively allow a danger to exist. A protruding clothing hanger, placed there by a fellow customer, allowed to remain in a walking aisle is an example of a hazard for which a store may be responsible. Sharp-edged shelves may be caused by improper installation or may have developed as a consequence of poor maintenance. In either case, the store is obligated under the law to have ensured that those hazards were reasonably eliminated.
Most retail stores have routine inspection policies to determine whether merchandise, stacked or positioned at displays dangerously, pose a hazard. Often, the store fails to implement those routine safety policies, causing needless injury to persons on the premises.
Aisle Hazards Such as Ladders and Carts
Other common store injuries involve merchandise carts and ladders. Careless employees of a grocery store, an electronics store, or a major retail business may strike a patron during the inventory stocking process, causing needless injury. The same occurs with wheeled ladders. In some cases, the customer is injured when walking into a hazardous area. Many times, the customer is distracted by "For Sale" and similar signage, designed by the store to divert the customer's attention from the walking path. Even in cases where the victim has, in part, been inattentive, it is essential for an experienced attorney to analyze all of the circumstances to determine whether the store is liable to some extent. In New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a victim who contributes to his/her own injury may nevertheless be entitled to restitution from the store, who also contributed in some way to the accident.
Exposed electrical lines or improperly grounded current pose substantial risk of injury or death to patrons and others on the premises. The business has the obligation to identify and reasonably rectify such hazards. Where the risk of shock cannot be entirely eliminated, the dangerous areas must be adequately partitioned from the public. Likewise, prominent warnings, typically in English and Spanish, must be posted to alert of the hazard.
Swim Clubs and Spas
Swim clubs and spas have an especially high duty, under the law, to ensure against drownings. Lifeguards must be certified and sufficiently trained for the establishment to meet its legal obligations. Where lifeguards are not required, other legal obligations typically apply to the proprietor.
Dangerous Products within a Store
Some cases require even more specialized legal analysis by an experienced premises liability lawyer. This is because a merchandise display or other object involved in the accident may implicate a product defect, in addition to the carelessness on the part of the store itself. Product defect cases usually involve claims that a product was designed, manufactured or installed defectively. Other times, the attorney will seek to prove that the product lacked adequate warnings. The analysis of a product's safety is a sophisticated exercise, often overlooked or else dismissed because of its complexity. HCK has highly-specialized trial attorneys who possess the skill, talent and proven experience to conduct a complete analysis of each case to determine each and every party responsible for the injury.
The store owners and managers are required to protect shopping areas, aisles where merchandise is displayed, dressing rooms, restrooms, check-out lanes, entrances, exits and parking lot areas. In some circumstances, the store may be responsible to keep private offices, basements, attics and stock rooms reasonably safe as well, even to customers who are not typically invited to such areas. An analysis of the facts of each case by an experienced attorney is essential to identify whether legal responsibility is implicated on the part of the retailer.
In the case of strip centers, collective business outlets and malls, mutually shared walkways, food courts and parking lots are all usually subject to the same obligations on the part of retailers.
The following actions are very helpful in pursuing a legal action on behalf of victims of accidents involving falling merchandise & displays, injuries from ladders, escalators, elevators, shopping carts, electrocutions and drownings:
Accident victims are entitled to restitution in the form of money as compensation for their pain, suffering, disability, impairment, lost earnings, medical costs, and damage to vehicles/property. Victims are also entitled to compensation for their loss of enjoyment of life, including their diminished activity level. These losses can devastate an individual and a family.
When lost or reduced wages are implicated, HCK consults with leading vocational and economic experts to identify the full impact of those losses upon household finances.
HCK has decades of experience securing six and seven-figure jury verdicts and settlements for victims of trip and fall and slip and fall accidents. Our team includes certified civil trial attorneys, which is a credential held by only about 2% of all New Jersey attorneys. Equally, our lawyers and staff understand that your injury is personal to you.
HCK treats you as they would treat their own family member. Victims are able to hire HCK in personal injury cases on a risk-free contingency fee basis, which means that the law firm takes the financial risk in presenting your case. Contact a New Jersey premises liability lawyer to handle your claim today.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.