We represent many clients who fall at retail shops such as department, big box or grocery stores. Understandably, when these falls occur, people are often embarrassed and rush to leave. They sometimes make comments to store employees that may be used later to hurt their claim.
People who fall at stores need to recognize these stores begin to gather ammunition to fight against any claim from the moment a fall occurs.
First, there are the eyes in the sky. Many retailers have video cameras poised to record any incident or its aftermath. This may provide the retailer with video of the actual event, which you may not be allowed to see until your claim has reached a point close to trial in front of a jury. Also, cameras are often trained on a customer after an incident. The video may show the customer continuing to shop, paying for items, or simply walking out of the store. Be aware that you may be on video. Act accordingly.
Second, a store employee will likely question you regarding the facts of the incident as well as possible injuries. If you are hurt, say so. Do not minimize the fall itself or any pain you may feel. Also, realize the store will want to fill out an accident report. Select your words carefully because those same words will return if you make a claim. Also, request a copy of the report.
Third, if you fall, try to find out what caused your fall. In order to make a claim against a retail store a customer must prove the store knew or should have known about the dangerous circumstances that caused you to fall. A personal injury claim of this type is extremely difficult to prosecute if the cause of the fall is unknown.
When a fall occurs, most people do not immediately think of making a claim and what they need to do to protect that claim. Be assured, the retail store is thinking of the possibility of a claim and how to fight it. Evidence they intend to use is gathered before people leave. Do not make it easier for the store and harder on yourself.
If you fall in a retail store, contact us at Burnetti, PA. We would be happy to discuss what happened and how we may be able to help.