For many people, shopping at the local mall or at a craft gathering is one of the highlights of the holiday season. Bells ring. Holiday music plays. Everything is festive. It’s a chance to think about how to delight your family and loved ones.
Slip and Fall Dangers Increase During the Holiday Season
Unfortunately, it’s also a chance to slip and fall. While people can slip and fall at any time, winter weather is particularly conducive to it. Floors become wet and slippery because people are tracking in rain, snow, and ice. Umbrellas and scarves are being shaken, which can also cause water, snow, and ice to fall on floors and other surfaces. People may drop small objects, like candy or small products, on the floor, which can be slipped on. There are many more people, which exacerbates all potential dangers.
Finally, store and mall employees, who are normally supposed to keep floors mopped, clean, and clear, may be pulled in a thousand different directions by people asking about products or waiting to be rung up for a sale. Employees may be seasonal and not fully trained.
Slipping and falling in a store during the holiday season can be very dangerous. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of falls cause a serious injury, such as a head trauma or a broken bone. Head injuries, of course, can also cause concussions, which can be life-threatening.
A store, of course, is not the only place you can slip and fall. Parking lots of stores and malls can be very icy, snowy, and very dangerous.
Can You Sue?
So if you do slip and fall during holiday shopping, can you sue?
For a defendant to be liable for an injury someone sustains during a slip and fall injury, three things must be true. First, the person or entity sued must be responsible for the space in which you slip and fall. It’s called having a duty of care. A store and mall owner and manager do have a duty of care to keep their premises safe and cleared of anything which could cause someone to slip and fall.
Second, they also need to have known that an area was unsafe and needed to be cleaned, mopped, or fixed. Three, they need to have had a reasonable time to do so, but failed to do so. Sometimes, for example, store owners whose customers have slipped on a recent spill of liquid can argue that they did not have sufficient time to mop the area before someone slipped. A mall owner may claim that they shoveled and sanded the parking lot the first instant it became possible, but someone slipped before they could reasonable clear the entire area
But if all three conditions are met, it means the responsible party is liable. They can be sued for damages as a result.
If You Need a Slip and Fall Attorney in New York or New Jersey
If you or a loved one has slipped and fallen due to the negligence of another party, while holiday shopping or at any other time, please contact our law firm to discuss your case.
The NY & NJ slip and fall lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have years of experience successfully representing clients who fell and were injured at a store or shopping mall. Call us at (800) 711-5258 or fill out the form on our website. We will be happy to meet you at our Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ offices. The consultation is complimentary, and there is never any obligation.
- Bush, Joe. “Safety in store: From the back room to the parking lot, retail workers face many hazards on the job.” Safety + Health. February 28, 2018. https://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/16667-safety-hazards-retail-workers.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important Facts About Falls. https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html.