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Retail Premises Liability



Retail businesses and business owners invite customers into their commercial spaces every day to sell products and services. That invitation comes with a responsibility, however. Under premises liability law, a retail business and its owner(s) owes a duty of care to its customers and those who enter the premises, whether they are conducting business while on the premises or not.

But proving liability is not as easy as 1-2-3. The person bringing a premises liability claim against a retail business owner has to demonstrate that the hazard that caused their injuries was something that the business owner or management was or should have been aware of. Proving what someone knows, of course may be an uphill battle. So in most cases, demonstrating that conditions were such that the management of the entity should have been aware of the danger is the likely route a successful personal injury case should follow.

Say, for instance, a spill in aisle 7 of a busy supermarket caused a slip-and-fall that resulted in a broken ankle. Evidence of the spill by itself is simply not enough to show liability under premises liability law. A plaintiff must also show that the spill was known to management or store representatives when the accident occurred.

Without such evidence, liability cannot be levied on the owners of the business in question. After all, it is difficult to remove a hazard one knows nothing about.

Let's say, however, you can demonstrate that a call for a clean-up in aisle 7 was made of the supermarket's intercom system at 12 p. m. and your fall had taken place at 12:30 p.m. This shows that management likely knew of (or should have known of ) the spill and had adequate time to take measures to remove the danger.

Another factor in premises liability cases is whether or not the nature of the location or facility is inherently dangerous. When that is the case, courts often make an assumption that those who are present are aware of the inherent danger of the business location. Say, for instance, an amusement park merry-go-round is in service and a guest of the park is injured walking near it while distracted using their mobile device. By virtue of the fast-moving rides in the park, there is inherent danger that is atypical of a standard business. Guests must understand that these dangers exist and take precaution as they enjoy the park entertainment.

However, if the hazard rises well above what is standard to the park's normal operations, management or ownership could be held responsible for damages that result. So, if the same merry-go-round malfunctioned and spun at an extraordinarily high rate of speed, injuring some of its riders and bystanders with flying debris or objects that project from the ride itself or its riders. These abnormal hazards could be found the responsibility of the ownership or management and result in damages.

Complexities around premises liability law abound and those seeking to recover damages in such cases should seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney like those of Panio Law Offices in Chicago. We understand premises liability law and work hard to ensure our clients' rights to compensation are protected.

Call us today at (708) 928-8680 to speak with an attorney. Consultation is free and we never collect a fee unless we recover damages for you.

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