The holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas creates the busiest season of the year for retailers. Between the Black Friday sales and other holiday discounts, customers’ demand can frequently reach a boiling point. People can become very disorderly when they are trying to rush and beat out others to get the best deals.
If you were injured in an accident like a slip and fall, a shelf collapse, or some other accident in a store while shopping, you could be entitled to sue the store for damages. The compensation you receive this way can often cover pain and suffering alongside other damages like medical expenses.
Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 today for a free case evaluation with our Maryland premises liability attorneys.
What is Premises Liability Law in Maryland?
“Premises liability” law covers accidents caused by a defect or dangerous condition on someone’s property. In the context of holiday ashopping, this often means injuries from slip and falls and injuries from dangerous merch – whether it is stacked precariously or on unstable shelves. If you fall on a wet floor or have a shelf fall on top of you, these would be premises liability accidents.
We can contrast these accident types with other injuries you might sustain during holiday shopping, such as car accident injuries in a crowded traffic jam or injuries from assault and battery. Our Maryland personal injury attorneys also handle these kinds of injury cases alongside premises liability injuries.
Who is Liable for Slip and Fall Shopping Accidents in Maryland?
Any store could be liable for shopping accidents if they fail to supervise, care for, and control their business space properly. For example, a store could have merchandise strewn all over its aisles in the holiday commotion, creating a hazard for customers to trip over. In a grocery store, food could be knocked over into the aisles, and spilled products could create slipping and tripping hazards as well. Another common way these accidents happen is that customers track in rain, ice, and snow from the outside, leading to wet, slippery floors.
In most cases, you can hold the store liable for these injuries. Property owners are responsible for the conditions on their property, including the condition of floors in their stores. Even if the dangers were caused by customers knocking over displays or tracking ice and snow into the store, it is up to the property owner to clean up and keep the premises safe.
However, for a store owner to be liable, there must usually be notice that the condition existed. If one customer comes along and knocks over a display, then you slip and fall on the spilled products only seconds later, there might be no time for staff to have reasonably noticed the spill and cleaned it up in that short time. However, when the store has notice of the dangerous condition and fails to act reasonably to warn customers or clean up, then they can be held liable for the dangers.
Most of these accidents happen because store workers are negligent. When employees commit negligence while at work performing job-related tasks, the store they work for can often be held liable for the worker’s actions. This allows you to sue the store instead of being stuck suing just the individual worker.
Black Friday Shopping Fights and Altercations
Holiday fights can break out in the feeding frenzy for holiday deals. But who is responsible – the people fighting or the store? This relates back to the duties a business owner owes the public under premises liability law and questions of whether the business owner maintained proper care, control, and supervision of the property.
In many cases, the store could be liable for “negligent security.” Store owners know that Black Friday shopping can get hectic, and history has shown that people are more than willing to hit someone if it means getting the product they want. Because of this, stores are usually on notice that they need to create orderly lines and hire additional security to not only prevent theft and protect their own merchandise but to protect their shoppers as well.
Regardless of the store’s liability, this does not mean that customers who commit assault and battery while shopping will not be held accountable for their actions. Any customer who assaulted you could potentially be charged, but you might also be able to sue them for assault and battery in a civil case to seek damages.
If you were injured by negligent security staff or they intentionally assaulted you without cause, you could be entitled to sue them directly. You might also be able to sue the store in their role as the security worker’s employer.
Damages for Injuries Sustained While Holiday Shopping in Maryland
Business owners can be required to pay compensation to customers who are injured in their stores. In most cases, victims will face expenses for any medical care they need as well as pain and suffering damages for their injuries. If their injuries make it hard to go back to work, the injury victim could also be entitled to compensation for lost wages and other damages.
All in all, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to total up your damages. In simple accidents like slip and fall cases, victims can face serious long-term injuries like brain injuries, whiplash, and back injuries that often go overlooked. Our lawyers take these damages seriously and will work to recover the costs of ongoing wage-loss damages, physical therapy, and other damages related to these long-term injuries.
Talk to a Premises Liability Attorney in Maryland Today
At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, our Baltimore premises liability attorneys look forward to your call at (410) 694-7291 for a free case evaluation.