When you go to a shopping center, you expect to shop. You plan to make purchases and perhaps have lunch or coffee with a friend. What you do not expect to do is slip and fall and injure yourself in what could be a life-changing event.
Slip and fall statistics
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that in the United States, 8.9 million people annually visit emergency rooms due to falls. Approximately 25,000 of them die as a result of their injury. Falls are now the second leading cause of accidental deaths in the U.S. Although many falls happen at home, a large percentage of slip and falls occur in high traffic areas such as shopping centers.
Main causes of slip and falls at shopping centers
There are number of unsafe conditions that may be the cause of slip and falls anywhere, but particularly at shopping malls. A few common examples are:
- A wet floor that has no warning sign.
- Uneven or torn carpeting.
- Poor lighting.
- Tripping on a misplaced box.
- Stairways without proper railings.
Recent slip and fall awards
A Honolulu man’s entire life changed when he slipped on a wet floor at a bar located in a well-known shopping center. He seriously injured his leg when he landed on the tile floor. He ultimately required seven surgeries. He still does not have full use of his leg. A jury recently awarded him $2 million in damages. The man claims he was not drinking but just walking through the bar as thousands of people at that mall do every year.
In another case, a woman, who was simply walking down the main corridor of a shopping center, slipped and fell and seriously injured her back. She required two back surgeries and had to retire from work. Video surveillance of the area revealed that shortly before her fall, a car dealership had sprayed the floor with a cleaning product after displaying a car for sale. She ultimately collected more than $750,000 as compensation for her injury.
What to do after a fall at a shopping center
- Seek medical attention.
- Gets the names and address of anyone who may have witnessed your fall.
- If the fall occurred in a public area of the shopping center, report it to the mall manager. If in a specific store, report it to the store manager.
- Get a copy of the written report from the manager.
- If possible, take photos of the area where you fell.
- Write down everything you remember about the accident.
Seek legal counsel
There are many reasons you should seek legal counsel. An attorney will evaluate the facts of your case and determine whether or not you have a legal remedy for your slip and fall accident. Insurance companies may offer you a settlement. Legal counsel will be sure the settlement is in your best interest, taking into account any future medical expenses or time off work.
photo by Robert Couse-Baker