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Who pays when you’re hurt at the mall? Here’s what you need to know about filing an insurance claim for common shopping mall injuries like slip and falls.
Injured In The Mall? Here’s What You Can Do
From our office location, the nearby Chapel Hills Mall is just one of the many shopping centers in the Denver area that attract tons of visitors each day. Assuming it’s actually open, this mall is expected to contain at least a couple hundred people during the week, and that number only inflates during the weekend.
With that said, you can probably imagine how danger lurks around every corner. While malls aren’t exactly viewed as a big hazard for personal safety, they’ve definitely had their fair share.
With the multiple floors, countless amounts of escalators, and the inherently higher chance for spills and wet floors, your spontaneous trip to the mall could land you (or a loved one) in the emergency room for the rest of the night; if it hasn’t already.
So what makes the mall different from any other store? Volume. Unlike your local gas station where people are in and out in a jiffy, mall visitors often spend long periods of time on the property.
Because of the length of their visit, they’re more likely to make a mistake within that time period. Whether that mistake is spilling their drink all over the food court floor, knocking over a shelf in a cramped store, or crashing in the aggressively fast-paced parking lot, they can all lead to serious injuries.
When you become aware of certain non-obvious hazards, it could benefit your well-being in the near future.
Types of injuries you can get in the mall
With that said, and in an effort to further prevent mall injuries to create a more pleasant atmosphere, Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers has compiled a list of different hazards that you may encounter.
- Slip Hazards: Spilled liquids; leaking equipment, containers, or air vents/conditions; slippery entrances and walkways (from the rainy Colorado days); etc.
- Trip Hazards: Dropped merchandise; wires, cords, ropes; stairs, escalators; etc.
- Falling Object(s): In-store shelves, merchandise, furniture, decor, and more; Negligently dropped or thrown objects from a higher floor; etc.
- Automobile Accident: The in-store train that drives around; parking lots accidents; etc.
- Defective Machinery/Equipment: Any equipment or machines (which you have a right to use) such as photo-booths or arcade games that somehow injure you.
- Inadequate Security: Your losses could stem from the criminal acts of another; acts which were only allowed to happen because the security in the mall was poor. Public places have a standard of care which they must meet; etc.
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How can I recover from a mall injury?
The type of injury received and how the alleged liable party was negligent will determine which category of tort law your claim or case will fall under. Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers is a comprehensive personal injury firm, so no matter the category of tort law, you can be confident that we’re here to help. Here are some category(s) your claim or case will be generalized as, along with some real-world mall injury examples.
- Product Liability: If a defective, misleading, or malfunctioning product injures you, it will fall under product liability law.
- Premises Liability: This deals with situations where a premises (and its owner(s)/caretaker(s)) owed a duty of care to the attendees and failed to meet said expectations.
- Assault/Sexual Assault: If your losses relate to being assaulted or sexually assaulted by another person because the premises was inadequately secured, this will also fall under premises liability, holding the owner(s) responsible for their lack of protection measures.
- Slip-and-Fall: Once again, these types of injuries usually fall back on the owner(s) of the premises, assuming that they knew (or should have known) about said slip or trip hazard and had the opportunity to correct it on more than one occasion.
Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers: Speak with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for free Today!
Accidents are going to happen, and unfortunately, the severity of any injuries sustained in an accident are not up for debate. A wrongfully injured party is never given the chance to choose how much he or she wants to suffer. There’s nothing sadder than seeing someone suffer for a choice they didn’t even make. That’s why we offer the legal services that we do; because helping is not only the right thing to do, but it is often times very much needed by a suffering person.
Here at Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers, we strive to be the helping hand that pulls you out of a rough situation involving injuries and negligence. Medical bills start piling up; things can really get out of control.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligence and you need help, you shouldn’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our aggressive attorneys as soon as possible. If you’ve experienced any physical, mental, emotional, or financial losses because another person expressed a lack of care, you may be eligible for significant financial compensation.
For a free consultation and case evaluation, contact us through the Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers website or give us a call at 719-300-1100.
American shoppers have access to nearly 47,000 shopping centers throughout the country. Of those, around 1,100 are enclosed shopping malls.¹
Most shopping centers are owned by corporations who profit by leasing spaces to individual stores, from pretzel shops, jewelry stores, and clothing retailers, to huge chain department stores.
The stores are responsible for keeping their business area clean and safe for customers.
Corporate property owners are responsible for the common areas like parking lots, walkways, restrooms, elevators and escalators. Owners of shopping centers are obligated to ensure the safety of visitors from the moment they enter the parking lot.
It’s expensive to keep up with the maintenance, repairs and security needs of a large shopping center. The hard facts are that shopping malls are losing money. Big retailers are pulling out, stores are closing, and many malls have fallen into neglect. Experts predict one out of four malls will be closed by 2020.²
Did you slip on a wet floor? Trip on a crumbling sidewalk? Fall from a faulty escalator?
If you’re injured by the negligence of the shopping center’s management, you have a right to expect compensation. Malls may be going broke, but they still carry insurance.
COMMON SHOPPING ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES
Car accidents often happen at busy shopping centers through no fault of the mall owner. Parking lot accident claims should be filed with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Accidents that are often the responsibility of the shopping center include:
Slip and falls are the most common shopping center accidents. Slip and falls can be caused by uneven and cracked pavement in parking lots and sidewalks, ice and snow, slippery floors, unsecured electrical cords, spilled drinks and food, uneven floor mats, and other obstacles.
Faulty escalators cause injuries from misaligned handrails, non-synced steps, worn away or nonexistent demarcation lines, broken entry mats, and sudden stops.
Falling debris, advertising signs placed within common areas that tumble over, and worn and broken ceiling tiles can injure unsuspecting shoppers.
Trampling is more common than you might think. Poor security and lack of planning for large crowds can result in injuries caused by trampling, like on “Black Friday” sale days.
Assaults and muggings occur in shopping mall bathrooms and other areas not open to public view. Rapes and robberies can happen in shopping center parking lots, especially parking areas lacking good lighting and a strong security presence.
The most commonly reported injuries from shopping center accidents include:
- Soft-tissue injuries like bumps, bruises, scrapes, and cuts
- Back and neck injuries
- Head wounds and traumatic brain injuries
- Twisted knee and leg injuries
- Broken bones
WHO PAYS FOR YOUR INJURIES?
Depending on the circumstances of your injury, you may be able to seek compensation from more than one source:
- Shopping center owner or management company, if you’re hurt in a common area
- Retail store owner or management company, if you’re injured in a store
- Manufacturer of defective equipment, like an escalator company
- Private individuals
If you’re injured in a shopping mall, you may have more than one claim for your injuries. For example, one against the shopping mall, and the other against the retail store where you were injured.
If you were injured inside one of the retail stores, you deal with the retail store first. Your secondary claim is against the shopping mall.
On the other hand, if your injury occurred in the common area of the mall, your claim is against the shopping mall alone. Common areas of the shopping mall include the areas outside of retail stores, parking lots, the areas where people walk, the food court, public restrooms, elevators, and escalators.
PROVING FAULT FOR YOUR INJURIES
State and federal laws require shopping center owners to protect visitors on their property from undue harm. Mall owners are ultimately responsible, or liable, for customer safety, meaning mall owners have a legal duty to protect their visitors from injury.
This doesn’t mean the mall owners are liable for every injury to customers. It means they have a duty to protect visitors from injury-accidents that are foreseeable.
For example, if an escalator jerks to a stop, making you fall down the mechanical steps and break an arm, the shopping mall is probably liable.
The mall’s insurance company may argue that the owner could not have foreseen the escalator’s untimely stop. However, maintaining the escalators to keep them running safely is the mall owner’s responsibility.
Serious injuries from mechanical equipment like escalators can be complicated. Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your eligibility for multiple compensation claims.
UNDERSTANDING NEGLIGENCE AND LIABILITY
Escalator breakdowns are foreseeable events. It’s up to shopping mall owners to make sure they don’t happen. Failing to have escalators regularly inspected and maintained is negligence. When negligence leads to injuries, the owners are always liable.
On the other hand, if another customer dropped shopping bags on the floor directly in front of you and you tripped over them, breaking your arm, the shopping center would probably not be liable. You would seek injury compensation from the careless individual.
You don’t have to be a paying customer to receive the protection of the shopping mall’s duty of care. If you’re at the mall to window shop, meet friends or any other legitimate reason, you’re a visitor who has a right to the mall owner’s protection from undue harm.
To prove the shopping center was negligent and liable for your injuries, you’ll need to show:
- A dangerous condition caused your injuries.
- Mall management knew, or should have known, of the dangerous condition.
- Mall management failed to remove or repair the dangerous condition.
- The dangerous condition was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries.
- You have documented injuries and related expenses.
- You did nothing to cause your injuries.
You’ll be able to prove the shopping center’s negligence and liability by collecting good evidence to support your claim.
INJURY CLAIMS NEED GOOD EVIDENCE
Although the law requires shopping centers to provide a safe environment for visitors, that doesn’t mean mall owners are automatically on the hook when a visitor is injured. When you’ve been injured at a shopping center, it’s up to you to prove your claim.
Your successful injury claim begins and ends with evidence. Without trustworthy evidence, your claim will likely fail. From the moment you’re injured, it’s important to know what to do.
Ask for security personnel: If you’re injured in the common area of a shopping center, look for security personnel. You may have to go to the nearest store and ask an employee to call for you.
When security arrives, take them to the accident scene and show them what caused your injury. They’ll make a detailed incident report. The report will include the date, time, and location of the accident, the type of injury, your contact information, and other notes about the accident.
Ask for medical care: If your injuries are serious, ask security to call 911. Most security guards have first-aid kits and will tend to your wounds until help arrives. Don’t scream for an ambulance if you don’t need one, but never refuse or delay medical attention after an accident.
If you aren’t taken directly to a hospital from the accident scene, have a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Be sure to tell your medical care providers when, where, and how you were injured. Your medical records will be important evidence for your claim.
Take photographs and videos: While waiting for security, take out your cell phone and photograph the accident scene. Take as many pictures as you can, from different angles. If you slipped on spilled food or liquid, be sure to get pictures of the slippery floor and the surrounding area to show it wasn’t cordoned off or marked with “wet floor” cones.
You can bet management will hurry to get rid of the problem once you’ve reported an injury, so don’t wait to take your pictures.
Speak to witnesses: Witnesses are always important. While family and friends make good witnesses, independent witnesses are even better. They don’t have an emotional or financial interest in the outcome of your insurance claim.
Grab the closest piece of paper, even if it’s the back of an envelope, and ask the witnesses to write down their contact information, a description of what they saw, and the date and time of the accident.
Look for security cameras: You can be sure there are plenty of surveillance cameras in the indoor and outdoor common areas. You may not see them, but they probably recorded your injury.
Tell the security guards you would like copies of the camera footage taken around the time of your injury. That puts them on notice to preserve the film. Your attorney can issue a subpoena to mall management to get copies of the film, incident report, and any other records about your injury.
Proof of your damages: Request copies of all medical bills and records related to your injuries, including ambulance records. Save receipts from medications and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Ask your employer for a written statement of your lost wages, and lost opportunities for overtime.
Write down exactly what happened the day of your injuries. Keep detailed notes about your medical care, pain levels, emotional distress, and how the injuries have affected your activities of daily living. Good notes will help support your compensation demand for pain and suffering.
WHEN ATTORNEYS CAN BOOST COMPENSATION
You generally won’t need an attorney for soft tissue injuries like bumps, bruises, sprains, or other minor injuries. If you’ve fully recovered, you can probably successfully negotiate your settlement without hiring an attorney.
Calculate your compensation amount by totaling the cost of your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost wages. Add one or two times that amount for pain and suffering.
Send a written demand along with copies of all your bills, wage statement, and other evidence.
We’ve made it easy to with a sample Shopping Mall Accident Demand Letter.
For severe injuries or complicated claims against multiple at-fault parties, you’ll need a skilled personal injury attorney to get a fair amount of compensation.
Insurance companies are well known for offering lower settlements to claimants who aren’t represented. The adjuster knows when they make their “final offer” you probably won’t have the energy or legal savvy to fight for more money.
You don’t have to battle the insurance companies alone, and you certainly don’t have to settle for less. There’s no obligation, and it costs nothing to find out how a personal injury attorney can fight for you.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SHOPPING MALL INJURIES?
All across the US, shopping malls have replaced Main Street as the place where people shop. Colorado is no exception. Colorado is home to some of the largest and busiest shopping malls and outlet centers in the country, along with countless open air strip malls and shopping centers.
Shopping malls and larger shopping centers generally consist of one or more large anchor stores and smaller stores that can number from a dozen to several hundred. The larger shopping malls especially, contain areas where accidental injuries occur with surprising frequency. It is the responsibility of mall owners and businesses to maintain safe premises for all shoppers and workers.
SHOPPING MALL INJURY DANGER ZONES
Virtually every large shopping mall has escalators and elevators to transport shoppers from one floor to another. These people movers can cause injuries if they malfunction or are not operated properly. An escalator without clear and proper, stair and landing, demarcation can be a likely place for a person to misstep and fall.
If a person should fall on a crowded descending escalator, a serious pileup of bodies can occur at the bottom atop the one who fell. On the other hand, an elevator that stops short of the floor creates a tripping hazard when the door opens. A person who is exiting the car is not likely to notice the step up required and will trip and fall.
The beautiful polished concrete and marble floors in today’s super malls are the areas where the most common shopping mall injuries occur. These are slip and fall accidents usually caused by wet surfaces from spills or cleaning. Wet areas should be cleaned up immediately, marked with warning signs or cordoned off.
Another source of injury is violent crimes such as rape, assault and robbery that could have been prevented by better lighting or security. These traumatic injuries are often not publicized to protect the reputation of the business.
Do Not Hesitate if Injured
When a person suffers a shopping mall injury it is important to get the personal information from any witnesses as soon as possible. It is also important to accept or seek medical attention immediately even if the injury seems minor at the time.
This will place a date stamp on the occurrence. Insurance companies will try to dispute the fact that an injury actually happened. Immediately following medical attention, a premises personal injury attorney should be contacted as soon as it is possible.
The experienced premises injury attorney will quickly subpoena any surveillance video that may have captured the event before it can be taped over or destroyed. The attorney can also determine which party was responsible. Was it the mall owner, the store, the management company, the maintenance company, a private security company or a combination of two or more?
Only a professional premises attorney has the savvy to determine the real responsible parties for a shopping mall injury. If necessary the attorney will virtually reconstruct the scene and use a team of investigators to locate and interview witnesses.
Were you or someone you care about injured in or outside of a shopping mall due to the negligence of another? If so you may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering.
The personal injury attorneys at Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers have successfully won large settlements against shopping malls, outlet centers and other shopping venues all over the State of Colorado on behalf of injured clients.
Get in touch with an experienced premises injury attorney today for a free evaluation of you case. It is imperative that you do not hesitate as evidence may be lost or destroyed and witnesses may be harder to find. Call today. You do not pay us a dime until we win for you.
Who Is Liable If I Slip and Fall at the Shopping Mall?
In the busy atmosphere of shopping malls, accidents happen, and slip and falls are the most common causes of mall injuries. There are many ways and places a fall can happen in a mall. If the negligence of the property owner, tenant store, or maintenance company caused your fall, they may be liable. Discuss your case with our Colorado Springs personal injury lawyers to find out who may be liable in your situation.
How slips and falls occur in shopping malls
The environment of the typical shopping mall seems to invite fall accidents. Even before entering, customers may encounter uneven pavement or snow and ice on the sidewalks and in the parking lots. Once inside, there may be slick, polished floors that are even more slippery when patrons track water in from outside.
Navigating inside, customers may venture through a food court where spilled drinks and fallen food may litter the walkways. Elevators and rugs pose tripping hazards, especially when they are not well-maintained. Boxes, cords, and other objects left in store aisles sometimes cause shoppers to fall. There are countless potential hazards in these busy settings.
Negligence: the basis of liability for a slip and fall
If you are injured on someone else’s property because of their fault, the law recognizes your right to compensation. However, you need to prove that the other party was to blame.
To hold a defendant – whether it is an individual or a business – responsible, there must be evidence of negligence. This means showing that the defendant carelessly or recklessly breached a duty that caused an accident that resulted in an injury. When it comes to a mall slip and falls, your personal injury lawyer will look for and gather evidence to prove:
- The defendant knew or reasonably should have known of an unsafe situation
- The defendant failed to fix the hazard or warn the public about it
- The plaintiff’s injury was a result of the defendant’s failure
Evidence might include testimony showing that a spill sat uncleaned for a long time, records indicating that the mall received reports of an elevator malfunction, or photos establishing that a wet floor sign was not placed in an area visible to passers-by. Gathering as much evidence as possible at the time of the fall will make proving your case easier down the road.
The defendant may deflect negligence by claiming that the plaintiff caused his or her injury by not being careful or by knowingly accepting the risk. Your Colorado Springs personal injury attorney will be on the lookout for these arguments and be prepared to address them.
Understanding the potential defendants in a shopping mall
Liability in a retail shopping complex is not always clear-cut. The duty to keep the premises safe for customers and others permitted to be on the property may fall on the shoulders of mall owners, retailer tenants, maintenance contractors, or others.
Any of these parties who fail to fulfill their duty may be liable to the injured party if their failure was reasonably a cause of the fall. For example, if your fall occurred:
- In a common area – the owner of the mall may be liable
- In a store – the store or the mall owner may be liable
- On an escalator – a maintenance company might be at fault along with either the property owner or store, depending on where the escalator was located
In any case, there will need to be evidence that the defendant knew or should have known of the dangerous condition but did not fix it or provide a warning. You will also need evidence substantiating your injury and tying your financial losses to your fall.
Speak with a lawyer for individualized advice
Understanding general principles is only the first step after suffering a personal injury. For the most accurate assessment of your rights and responsibilities, discuss your case with the Colorado Springs slip and fall lawyers at Douglas & London.
Our team is committed to helping injury victims throughout Colorado Springs, whether that means offering basic advice in our office or taking a case to court against a big corporation. Call today to schedule a free consultation. We never charge a fee unless we win compensation on your behalf.
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