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Maintaining a safe environment for shoppers

As Illinois residents may know, injuries may occur in public buildings, such as grocery stores or shopping centers, particularly when a safe environment has not been preserved. If dangerous conditions are not corrected by the owner in a timely manner, the customer may recover damages under premises liability laws.

Store owners have the responsibility to keep their premises free of conditions that might injure a customer by eliminating hazardous conditions. These may include falling objects, floor spills that may be a slip hazard, unsecured wires and inadequate lighting. Snow or other parking lot hazards and improperly maintained shopping carts may also cause customer injury. Overcrowding during sales, particularly during holidays, is another risk. Stores have an safe capacity at any given time, and overcrowding may cause injury as customers jostle each other to get to sale items.

The types of shopping injuries vary and may include slipping and falling. For instance, a customer who is injured by slipping on a wet floor may conclude that if the spill was removed the accident would not have happened. In order to prove negligence, the injured individual must show that the store owner was remiss in not having an inspection system in place and not taking steps to clean up the spill. The customer must also show a relationship between the injury and the hazard and provide specifics about the injury using pertinent medical records.

An individual who suffers an accident due to a store owner's negligence may wish to speak to an attorney about recovering expenses associated with it such as the cost of medical treatment and time lost from work. The attorney can review the circumstances using injury reports and medical records and, if warranted file a premises liability suit on the client's behalf.

Source: FindLaw, "Shopping Injuries Overview", accessed on Feb. 10, 2015

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