Most people expect a shopping trip to damage their bank account, not their body. Pools of water on the floor, ripped carpet, and collapsing shelves are rare events in a well-kept store, but they can all lead to serious injury during your shopping trip. Stores have an obligation to create a safe environment for customers — they open themselves up to legal liability when you are injured as a result of negligence.
Unfortunately, many people don't know what to do after they're injured in a retail store. Some are embarrassed and quickly walk off the pain and leave the store entirely. This makes it very difficult to prove your injuries originated as the result of your accident. If you were seriously injured as the result of carelessness by the store employees, it's very important to document everything about your accident in order to create a full record of the events. Here's what to do when you're injured while shopping in a store.
1. Call a Manager
The first step you should take after being injured in a store is to contact a store manager. If you cannot move after the accident, have an employee call a manager for you. Many stores require incident reports to be filed after a customer is hurt in the store. However, smaller retail establishments may not have this policy, and you cannot force an employee to document your accident. In either case, you should also document your in-store accident on your own to create your own record of the event.
If the manager asks you to make a statement for the incident report, ensure that you tell the manager about all of the injuries you received during the accident, even if the pain is minor. You want to err on the side of caution and create a report that's more detailed than necessary. If you don't tell the manager about an injury, the store is likely to argue later that it is unrelated to your accident.
2. Document the Scene of the Accident
You'll need to gather as much information about the scene as possible in order to demonstrate that your injury was caused by unsafe conditions. Smartphones are a wonderful tool to use for this — record a video of the surrounding area along with the names of all employees that you spoke to, including the manager. If anyone in the store witnessed your accidental injury, ensure that you get their contact information.
3. Seek Medical Attention
The best thing to do is to have the store manager call emergency services and then wait until medical aid arrives. You need to have your injury documented by a medical professional as soon as possible. As with telling the store manager about your injuries, tell the doctor about all the pain and problems you are experiencing after the accident. Some injuries can progress and become much more serious later on, so it's important to document them now in order to prove they originated from your accident at the store.
4. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Lastly, you should contact a personal injury attorney as quickly as possible after you are injured in a retail store. A personal injury attorney can help to secure video from surveillance cameras and a copy of the incident report filed by the manager. By ensuring that both the conditions of the store and the injuries you received were documented well, you maximize your chances of being able to win a personal injury case against the store.
For more information, get in touch with a legal office such as Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti.