Retailers Have A Responsibility To Ensure Safe Shopping
Unless you’re extremely lucky with your friends and family, odds are that when it’s time to do some shopping for the holidays, you’re not going to be able to do everything online and wait for your purchases to arrive at your door. Sooner or later, you’re going to brave the crowds and do some shopping in stores or malls.
When you do this, even with more crowds and hectic shopping activity, it’s important to do one thing; remember that you, as a customer, have rights. And those rights need to be protected not just by law enforcement like the police, but by the proprietors and managers of any shopping outlet you visit.
This is called premises liability, and it means you’re legally entitled to a certain minimum amount of safety while shopping.
For Homeowners & Retailers Alike
Premises liability simply means that a property owner has a legal obligation to put in a reasonable amount of safety to ensure a safe environment for people. This applies even to homeowners, though in those cases, the duty varies. People in Colorado, for example, must shovel their sidewalks to clear out snow for people passing their home. Here in Florida, you may not have to worry about a clear sidewalk, but if you have an aggressive dog, for example, you must keep that dog properly contained, and warn others about its presence with a sign.
For people that run a business that involves customers, such as a grocery store, or other retail outlets, the legal responsibilities are even more varied. While a retailer obviously has no control over how customers interact with each other, the environmental factors need to be accounted for.
Your Safety Depends On Many Things
For example, for anyone that is shopping in a retail outlet where they may be a variety of food/drink based items, accidents might happen from time to time. No one is going to fault a child for breaking a jar with liquid inside it, however, the staff of that outlet must clean that spill as quickly as is reasonably possible. If the spill is left unattended after an hour, and you should happen to turn the corner into the aisle, slip on it and fall, that is a premises liability case that you can take to court. That spill should have been dealt with within minutes of its occurrence. It is unreasonable to take the store to task if you were right behind the child, and you slipped on the spill within moments of it occurring, but that same spill should not be creating a risk to other shoppers an entire hour after the incident.
The same applies to work being done in the shop or mall. Floors being torn off, escalators being worked on, or electrical wiring being repaired all require appropriate precautions. If the managers are not properly barricading these work areas or preventing customers from falling into open escalators or touching exposed, live wiring, you should seek the advice of slip and fall lawyers immediately and get compensation for your holiday woes.