When someone is injured on another person’s property, the property owner may be responsible for the injury. This is called the law of “premises liability.”
The idea is not that people are automatically responsible for any injuries on their property. Instead, the law holds property owners and managers responsible only when their negligence caused the injury. This means the property owner or manager was careless.
For example, Walmart, Target of Costco might be responsible for an injury when they knew about a hazardous condition but didn’t do anything about it. At a retail store, this might include:
- Failing to clean up a spill
- Allowing merchandise to be stacked too high or precariously
- Not repairing a broken sidewalk
- Not tacking down carpets, allowing people to trip
Here in Louisiana, an injured person has to prove three things to win a premises liability claim:
- There was an unreasonably dangerous condition on the property
- The property owner (or manager) knew or reasonably should have known about the dangerous condition
- The dangerous condition caused the injury
There are some circumstances in which a property owner can be held responsible even if the injured person can’t prove all three of these things, but they are rare.
What should you do if you are injured in a big box store?
If you slipped and fell, tripped and fell or were hit by falling merchandise at a large retail establishment, your injuries could be quite serious. The first thing you should do is take care of yourself. Your health and safety should always be your top priority.
That said, the store may have internal procedures they would like you to follow when injured. This probably includes reporting your injury to the store as soon as possible and cooperating with store personnel as they gather information about the incident. Go along with these internal procedures if it is safe for you to do so.
The next thing you should do is talk to a personal injury attorney. Your attorney can help you understand if you have a valid claim and explain how to proceed. In most cases, your lawyer will attempt to negotiate compensation for your injuries and losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. If an acceptable settlement can’t be reached, your lawyer may file a lawsuit in an effort to force the store to compensate you.