As you make a usual stop at the grocery store and browse the aisles, you slip and fall on a wet floor. Once the embarrassment wears off, you realize you are hurt. The first thing that comes to many people’s minds is that their fall was purely an “accident” — no one’s fault but their own.
Slip and Fall at a retail store in Georgia
If you or a loved one were injured by a slip and fall at a retail store, you are not alone. Roughly 8 million hospital emergency room visits occur each year due to slip and fall incidents at retail businesses. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, floors and flooring material directly result in more than 2 million fall injuries each year. Since slip and fall accidents can occur at any place and at any time, it’s always best to pay attention and watch your surroundings. But even when a person is paying attention, they can still be injured through no fault of their own.
Legally speaking, a business that invites customers into its store to shop can be held accountable for a customer’s injuries. Under O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1, a business that is open to the public has a legal duty to make its store safe for customers. In Georgia, the injured person must show either the business owner knew of the danger or that the danger existed for a long enough period of time such that the business owner should have been aware of the presence of the danger. Oftentimes, the business owner may not know of the actual danger. In such cases, the injured party must show the business owner failed to take reasonable steps to identify and remove hazards.
While businesses are “not required to warrant the safety of all [customers] from all things,” a business that fails to take reasonable steps to make its store safe can be held legally accountable for a customer’s injuries. Robinson v. Kroger Co., 268 Ga. 735, 740 (1997). Examples of proactive steps that a good business can take to enhance customer safety and decrease the risk of a slip and fall include routine safety inspections and sweeps to discover possible dangerous conditions and placing wet floor cones and signs out when mopping.
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to comply with their legal duty to make their store safe for customers. A store may fail to place “wet floor” signs out when someone has a spill or when the floor is being cleaned during routine maintenance. During peak hours, some stores will postpone safety inspections and floor sweeps due to large customer volume in the store. Although most stores have policies for what employees are required to do, many times employees simply fail to follow the company’s policies.
It is also important to remember that not all customer injuries are caused by wet floor conditions. A business can also be liable for a customer’s injury when the owner of the business could reasonably predict that a condition, for example improper safety railings, improperly stacked merchandise, or even rampant crime, could cause someone to be injured or killed.
Personal injury cases against retail establishments can be tricky. Most businesses will aggressively fight these types of personal injury cases. When looking for a personal injury law firm, consider someone who knows the law and who routinely handles these types of cases. The attorneys at Glass & Robson, LLC regularly help slip and fall victims receive the compensation they need to get back on their feet and move on with their lives. Our firm has provided effective legal representation in numerous slip and fall cases throughout Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, please contact the attorneys at Glass & Robson at (404) 751-4702 for a free consultation.