Accidents can happen not only on the road during dangerous driving conditions; rather, they can happen any time, even when you’re out shopping for groceries or an item for your home. For example, what if you’re visiting your local Costco store and you’re experiencing a slip and fall accident on the smooth and hard concrete floor due to a spill or other wet area? What should you do if an object on one of the high warehouse shelves falls and strikes you?
Understanding what to do after you’ve been hurt inside a store is essential for protecting your legal rights and preserving your potential to seek compensation for the store’s negligence.
Call for Help First If Necessary
Don’t try to “grin and bear it,” especially if you’re experiencing pain or have a clear injury. Call for help from an employee or, if your injury is serious, ask someone to call for emergency services. Documented evidence of the medical effects that you’re experiencing because of the accident will become critical in the future if you decide to pursue a claim against the store.
Document the Scene or Get Information from Nearby Witnesses
If you have not been badly hurt, try to document the scene of the accident immediately. If you cannot do so, ask if someone accompanying you or a nearby shopper can help. Take photos or a video that showcase where the accident occurred. For slip and falls, evidence of the slippery floor surface that caused your accident will be essential. If you took a tumble from one of Costco’s storage racks, take photos of the fallen items and any other relevant features.
Ask to Speak to a Manager, but Don’t Sign Anything
It’s a wise idea to notify the store that you’ve had an accident. However, beware of the process that may unfold next.
While a manager may act apologetic and contrite, they may also provide you with paperwork to sign. Don’t do it! These papers may be waivers that make you sign away your right to sue or hold the store responsible for your accident. Politely decline to sign anything at the time of the incident but be sure to get contact information for the store manager, anyone who witnessed the accident, and the corporate offices.
Understand When You Might Have a Case
Not every accident leads to claims for compensation. Why? You need to prove that Costco was negligent in some way that led to your injury. While stores do have a duty of care to protect their shoppers, some situations may be outside of their control. Establishing negligence is a multi-pronged test that requires consideration of facts such as whether the store owner knew, or should have known, of the existence of a danger to shoppers.
The accident must also be just that—accidental. If you were trying to reach a high object without assistance and caused merchandise to fall onto yourself, for example, the store is not likely to be held liable. If products were stacked dangerously and fell, however, you may have a case.
Find Proven Legal Assistance to Help You
Injuries that occur inside of stores, including big box retailers such as Costco, can be just as life-changing as any other kind of accident. If you believe that the negligence of store management or an employee may have led to the situation that caused your injury, it is critical to seek out a slip and fall attorney consultation promptly.
At HHJ Trial Attorneys, we offer a friendly and welcoming environment in which to discuss what happened to you and how we can help. Get a free consultation today.