Businesses expect individuals to come to their property in exchange for profit. During this time, it’s their responsibility to ensure a safe and seamless shopping experience for everyone. However, no matter how valiant a business’s efforts are, sometimes their preventative efforts fail and open up the potential for a potential injury lawsuit. As a customer, you are inherently protected from the minute you walk through the door or onto the property.
According to James McKiernan Lawyers, a team of San Luis Obispo accident lawyers, if you’re injured for any reason—even if it’s an accident—you might be entitled to a personal injury lawsuit. However, in order to determine whether you have a case that has legs, there are several factors you should keep in mind. Here’s what you need to know:
Duty of Care
As previously mentioned, every business owes their customers a certain level of care. However, businesses cannot be responsible for every single injury that occurs on their premises. To create a standard for which accidents businesses are responsible for, there are certain procedures that must be put in place, and those procedures vary from state to state. This includes regularly cleaning to prevent slip and fall accidents, using warning signs for potentially hazardous areas (like wet or uneven floors), and ensuring your space is ADA compliant.
Many customers don’t understand that business owners have a fiduciary responsibility to provide a certain level of care and may therefore let a situation go before they’ve explored their options. If you’re unsure of whether you have a viable case on your hands, reach out to a local legal team to double check. Many lawyers offer free consultations that you can take advantage of to see if your case is worth pursuing.
Identifying Breach of Duty
A breach of duty occurs when a business fails to adequately offer an appropriate duty of care. There are many different ways a breach of duty can occur. For example, truck driver Holly Averyt won a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Walmart after she slipped in a grease spill during a delivery. Averyt’s legal team found that Walmart had been issued a citation from the city, which indicated that Walmart knew about the spill but failed to act.
Situations like this occur time and time again and in many different forms. For instance, if a business doesn’t have enough staff on duty to clean up a spill, they might let the spill linger for longer as they tend to other duties like the cash register. If an accident occurs that could have been prevented if the business were performing as required, you might be entitled to financial compensation.
Proving Injuries Caused by the Breach
Proving that a business has breached their duty of care isn’t just enough. You also need to be able to prove that the injury you’ve sustained is a direct result of that breach. Harm can come in many different forms, including physical harm, emotional harm, or financial harm. However, it’s possible for an individual to sustain an injury on a property at no fault than their own. This is why it’s so important to see medical and/or legal attention immediately after your accident.
For instance, contributory negligence is when the victim of a personal injury accident shares some level of responsibility for the cause of the accident. When you share any amount of fault, you may receive less financial compensation for your injury—or could lose it altogether, depending on the circumstances.
For example, if your car hit a pothole in the supermarket parking lot that resulted in whiplash and vehicle damages, you could be at some degree of fault if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. If you tripped over your own untied shoelaces on unlevel parking lot terrain, you might also share fault. To prevent a potential setback, always consider the possibility of contributory negligence in advance and discuss it with your lawyer.