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What if I’m injured in a slip and fall outside a store?

Over the last few weeks as the holidays have approached, you’ve likely been hustling and bustling between a lot of different stores to get everyone close to you the perfect gift. Now that the weather is colder, you may have encountered some icy sidewalks or parking lots in your shopping adventures.

If you slip and fall and literally break your leg outside one of these stores, what are you supposed to do? Is the store liable for your injury?

Premises liability

First, you should know that you are not alone. Slip-and-fall accidents lead to 1 million emergency room visits yearly in the United States. About 5% of those who fall fracture a bone.

Second, Ohio and Kentucky business owners are expected to keep their sidewalks and parking lots clear of ice during business hours. They also are supposed to insure to wipe up wet spots on their floors, so customers don’t fall. Business and property owners have premises liability for injuries that occur because of their negligence.

Proving negligence

If you receive an injury because after falling because of ice or snow outside, or on a slippery floor, you’ll need to prove the business owner was negligent in keeping the surface outside or inside their business clear. Sometimes, weather conditions change so rapidly a business owner may not realize ice has developed on a sidewalk or parking lot. If a spill inside a business just occurred a couple minutes ago, a business owner likely isn’t negligent for not cleaning it up immediately.

To have a business owner held liable for your slip-and-fall injury, you will need to prove:

  • That any obstacle or hazardous condition was present long enough for a store employee to take care of it.
  • That there wasn’t a warning sign alerting you of a slippery floor, icy sidewalk or another hazard.
  • That you fell because of poor lighting.

A store owner may dispute your claim and try to show how regularly they clear their sidewalks, parking lots and floors to prevent customer falls. In Kentucky, a judge may decide you were partially responsible for your fall. However, you still may receive some damages to help cover the costs of treating your injury and for your pain and suffering.

Holding a business owner accountable for failing to maintain the safety of their customers is important. It’s not only to your benefit if you win your personal injury claim, but it also will likely prevent future customers from facing the same dangers.

 

 

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