Consumers spend a significant amount of time inside retail stores. You expect to be safe when you are shopping for your favorite products, but the potential for an injury always exists.
Many people assume that the store is responsible for reimbursing their injury-related medical expenses and providing compensation for pain and suffering any time they become injured in a retail setting.
The fact of the matter is that these types of injury cases can be among the hardest to prove. Stores that should be held responsible for accidents can win their case in court, while cases where the store wasn't to blame can result in significant settlements or judgments against the store.
Any time you sustain an injury while shopping in a store, you should seek the advice of a personal injury attorney with experience handling premises liability cases so you can determine the following things.
The first thing you must establish when trying to determine if you have a valid premises liability case is whether or not the store's negligence contributed to your injury.
People can slip and fall for reasons that are unrelated to the actions of a retail store. The law recognizes that accidents happen, which makes the burden of proof essential if you think negligence contributed to your premises liability case.
Negligence in premises liability lawsuits is typically tied to an unsafe defect or condition which exists on the property. You must provide proof that the defect existed at the time of your accident, and you must show that the store knew about the defect far enough in advance to address the safety issue.
The store's failure to eliminate unsafe defects in a reasonable amount of time can serve as the negligence component you need to proceed with your case.
Once the store's negligence has been established, you will need to work closely with your attorney to evaluate your own contribution to your accident. The courts almost always utilize comparative negligence to help determine a fair dollar amount to award in compensation.
Premises liability cases usually have a comparative negligence component, so it's essential that you understand how this legal principle works. The court will compare your level of negligence with the store's negligence to create a fault ratio.
The higher this ratio, the less compensation you may be entitled to. An attorney can prove a valuable ally in helping you present evidence that mitigates your negligence.
The third component in a premises liability lawsuit is damages. There are several different types of damages that the court may choose to award you as a result of your injuries. Your attorney will be able to help you come up with a feasible amount to ask for in damages.
These damages can include the actual cost of your medical expenses, wages for any time you missed at work as a result of your injuries, emotional trauma, and other pain and suffering you may experience following your injury.
Presenting a feasible request when asking for damages will help you place a value on your premises liability case. This value often serves as the basis for settlement negotiations that occur prior to your first court date. Your request for compensation will also provide a judge with hard evidence showing how your injuries have negatively impacted your life.
If you feel that you have a premises liability case, you need to meet with an experienced attorney to explore your options for legal recourse. An attorney will be able to evaluate the facts of your case and determine if pursuing a lawsuit is wise. Contact Marienfeld Law, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation to discuss your premises liability case today.