Slipping and falling in a retail store can not only be embarrassing, but could result in serious injuries. The strength or weakness of your case can depend on several factors, such as what you tripped or slipped on, the length of time this hazard was on the floor, who caused the hazard (customer or employee) and even what area of the store the hazard is located. Just is important is what you do or don’t do after a fall. Here are a few simple steps to follow in the event you have an injury in this situation:
- If you are hurt, stay where you are. Too many times injured patrons limp or hobble out of the store because they are embarrassed over what just happened. If you do that, it becomes very hard to prove your injuries occurred because of a hazard on store property.
- Tell someone immediately. Get the attention of an employee who can assist you and contact management to ensure emergency aid is called if needed.
- If another store patron saw what happened, get their name(s) and telephone number(s). Good Samaritans may come to your aid, but often leave the scene and are never heard from again, so get their information while they are there.
- Document the hazard that caused your injury. Just about every cell phone has a camera, so take a picture of the hazard. Whether it’s a squished tomato, crack in the concrete or frayed carpeting, documenting the hazard is very important. Often that hazard will never be there again or in the same condition as it was when you were injured, so snap as many pictures as you can.
- Ask that the store fill out an incident report. If you have to bring a claim later, this will be an important piece of evidence and also triggers certain duties with the store’s insurance company.
Ask the store if they have video surveillance. This a common practice in retail environments, so if they have video ask them to save it. Saving this data should be common practice for a store with this technology, but this information is not always saved when it is not favorable to the store and can get “lost” or “erased.”