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Retail Store Liability

Ocala Attorneys Advising Individuals Injured on Commercial Property

If you suffer injuries after an accident in a retail store and require medical care, you might have a legal cause of action against the store. Businesses that welcome customers or patrons onto their premises have a legal duty to keep the property reasonably safe. It can be complicated to prove retail store liability, so it is important to secure legal representation from an experienced premises liability lawyer. At the Dean Law Firm, we provide aggressive representation for Ocala residents and other individuals who have been injured on commercial property.

Holding a Retail Store Liable for Damages

A retail store that invites the public onto its premises, whether it is a big box store or a grocery store, owes a duty to reasonably protect customers from harm. Reasonable actions to protect customers may include warning them if there is a risk of injury by using orange hazard cones, cleaning up spills promptly, and having a store policy that entails investigating for hazards such as slippery floors or a broken automatic door. In what are called "negligent security" cases, a store sometimes can even be held liable for third-party attacks when there is a history of prior similar criminal activity such that the store should have hired a security guard or taken other security measures.

A person who has been hurt inside a store would have to prove that the store knew or should have known about a dangerous condition or situation. The most common type of retail store claim is a slip and fall. Whether a retail storeowner is liable in a particular slip and fall situation turns on the particular facts of the case. While most shoppers are owed the highest possible duty of care, you would need to show that the store knew or should have known of the slippery surface and failed to take action to clean it up.

For example, if a storeowner uses an unnecessarily slippery wax on the bathroom floor, and you fall, it likely created the unsafe condition and could potentially be held liable. Similarly, if a store shelves a heavy object in a precarious position, and it falls and hits a customer, the storeowner created a dangerous condition. However, if a customer spills ice on the floor and another customer slips on it, the store will only be held liable if the spill was there long enough that a manager or other employee reasonably should have become aware of the condition and cleaned it up.

An injured customer also would have to show the danger was not so obvious that he or she should have known about it and taken steps to avoid it. For example, if there is a pile of broken blue glass in the beverages aisle and the victim walks on it, whereas a reasonable customer would have avoided it, the store may not be held accountable.

Proving these cases can be challenging, particularly in cases where it is alleged that a store "should have" known about a dangerous condition. However, there may be videotape surveillance or store records that provide evidence on this point. You should take photographs and consult an attorney as soon as possible after an accident because it is common for stores to reuse surveillance tapes as a regular practice, recording over important evidence within a matter of a week or month.

Explore Your Options with an Ocala Lawyer after a Slip and Fall

If you are hurt in a retail store accident, you can potentially seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. At the Dean Law Firm, our slip and fall attorneys can take property owners in the Ocala area and elsewhere in Florida to court if needed to pursue fair compensation. Call us at 352-387-8700 or contact us via our online form. We represent accident victims in Crystal River, The Villages, and other communities throughout Marion, Sumter, Lake, Citrus, and Levy Counties.