This 2020 holiday season, shopping malls in Florida and across the U.S. may experience less foot traffic due to the ongoing pandemic, but that doesn’t mean shopping mall accidents will disappear for those of us who decide to pop into our favorite retail stores for a quick shopping spree. A report from the National Floor Safety Institute shows that slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of non-fatal injury-related hospital admissions, specifically accounting for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits in the U.S. And in 2014 alone, there were 67,860 hospitalizations for fall-related injuries. To add to this, the Florida Department of Health shows that falls are among the leading causes of death among Florida’s residents aged 65 or older.
Common causes of shopping mall accidents
Again, though shopping malls may receive less in-store shoppers this holiday season, accident risks remain as long as there are visitors on the premises. If you’re planning a trip to your local Florida mall, keep an eye out for these 6 common hazardous conditions that cause slip and fall accidents and injuries in shopping centers:
1. Liquid spills
In addition to spills left over from cleaning equipment, visitors who carry around food and drinks while shopping can accidentally spill liquids in various unsuspecting areas inside malls and neglect to clean up their mess, leaving others at risk of slipping.
2. Electrical wires
Electrical cords are very common on business premises and different mall areas especially for decorative displays and particularly during holiday seasons. If these cords are not properly secured, unsuspecting visitors can trip over them.
3. Torn carpeting
If a carpet is torn or ill-secured to the floor, this could cause accidents such as slip and falls. Retail stores crammed with racks of products on the sales floors can make it difficult for shoppers to see and avoid these unsafe flooring conditions.
4. Pavement potholes
When sidewalks and parking lots are improperly-maintained, there’s a possibility that potholes will develop, leading to painful slip and falls, ankle sprains, torn ligaments and more. Keep alert for hazardous conditions inside, and outside, the shopping mall.
5. Escalator malfunction
When not well-maintained, shoppers can easily slip and fall, or get their hair or clothing caught in the escalator. It’s not uncommon for escalator safety-stop systems to fail, leaving visitors at risk of injuries from escalator malfunctions.
6. Wet bathroom floors
When the mall cleaning and repair crews fail to keep bathroom floors dry, repair plumbing issues on time, and keep floors clean of paper items, bathrooms become dangerous to shoppers rushing in and out of the restrooms.
Who is liable for shopping mall accidents?
Injury claims against shopping malls and retail stores in Florida require West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers familiar with premise liability negligence lawsuits. Depending on where, why, and how the accident happened, you can sue the individual store owner, shopping mall owner, the facility management company, security provider, or any other party whose negligence contributed to the accident and the resulting injuries you suffered.
Under Florida law, all business premises owners must take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their employees, tenants, and other people who visit these properties. The specific degree of care expected from the property owner varies depending on the three categories of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
According to Florida state laws, shoppers are considered invitees. Retail store and shopping mall owners owe shoppers a duty of care and must maintain their store premises in a reasonably safe condition. If a shopper or visitor is injured while in a shopping mall, the law allows them to seek compensation for the injuries and other forms of damages they suffered as long as the injured person can prove that: the accused property owner owed them a duty of care, that duty was breached, and as a result, the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) suffered injuries.
Don’t let a slip & fall accident ruin your holiday – seek help from a Florida injury attorney
While some injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents may be less severe, others like broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries may require expensive treatment. In addition, filing a personal injury claim is a complicated legal process with strict deadlines and detailed requirements. Don’t do it alone. Seek help from the experienced Florida personal injury lawyers at Fetterman & Associates, P.A. who will help you gather the right facts, calculate the value of your claim, and successfully negotiate fair compensation for your damages. Contact us online or give us a call at 561-845-2510 for your free consultation.