This is What to Do If You Fell at a Big Lots*

Slip and Fall Accidents at a Store

Most of us take the safety of shopping for granted and never even stop to think about the slip-and-fall dangers that may be lurking in every aisle of our favorite stores. Unfortunately, those who have had an accident while shopping quickly realize that the maze created by merchandise shelves and displays, other shoppers and employees throughout the store may result in long-lasting or permanent pain, hospital stays, countless doctor visits and fears over lost wages.

The stress and anxiety of such an awful situation may be compounded by frustrating attempts to get compensation from those responsible for the unsafe conditions that prompted the accident. However, slip-and fall accident victims should rest assured that personal injury lawyers are ready and willing to help fight for them.

Despite a store’s best efforts, slip-and-fall accidents do happen. The store may be responsible for your injuries

Slip-and-fall hazards at a store may include:

  • Smaller merchandise that has fallen or been knocked off shelves
  • Large merchandise, like furniture and gardening tools, with parts or pieces allowed to protrude into walking spaces
  • Improperly constructed or broken shelves and merchandise racks
  • Poorly placed or hard-to-see merchandise or signage
  • Slippery floors from spills not cleaned up by store employees
  • Wet floors caused by rainy or snowy weather conditions
  • Wet or dirty floors caused by mopping or sweeping done by employees
  • Ladders, dollies and other stocking implements left in the aisles
  • Loose rugs or damaged floor tiles in the store
  • Ice, snow or puddles not properly removed in the parking lot or outside merchandise display areas
  • Inadequate lighting inside or outside the store

How to Handle Getting Hurt in a Department Store

Department stores like Big Lots have a legal responsibility to ensure their premises are safe for customers and other users of their stores to use. Big Lots and other any other department stores take out premises liability insurance in case someone is injured in some way in their store and initiates a personal injury claim for damages.

There are several ways that you could be injured in a department store. Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are the most common together with injuries caused by elevator accidents, fire and electrical faults.

If you believe that your injuries could have been avoided if the management and staff at the store had been more proactive about safety, you may have good grounds for a personal injury claim.

A successful claim following a department store accident depends on proving that the accident was caused by negligence and could have been avoided. Hazards such as slippery floors or loose carpets should be dealt with as soon as they are brought to the attention of management or at least cordoned off so that customers and other visitors are able to avoid the area.

The personal injury claim will need to be supported by sufficient evidence that your injury was caused by the accident at the store and was due to negligence. Suitable evidence could include:

  • doctor’s assessment of injuries;
  • documentation of medical treatment received;
  • evidence of loss in earnings;
  • eye witness statements;
  • photos showing hazard that caused the accident.

Proving A Store Was Negligent

If you have suffered injuries in a fall at a store, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the discount store. To have a successful claim, you will need to prove that the store acted negligently and that your injuries were a direct result of that negligence. Here are some tips to help you with a successful personal injury claim for premises liability.

Was the store clean? A store has a duty or a responsibility to make sure it is clean and free from obstacles. The employees should regularly check for spills or merchandise on the floor and clean them up. Any wet areas or spills should be marked with a wet floor sign. If there was adequate time for them to clean up the mess, or to warn patrons and they failed to do so, then they are liable for your damages.

The store should be properly maintained. That means that the merchandise must be properly put away and safely displayed. If you are hit by falling merchandise, or if you trip over items that are left in the aisles because they were blocking your pathway, then the employees were negligent, and you may hold the store liable for your damages. Be attentive and make note of any dangers that existed and how they contributed to your injuries.

Evidence Gathered Onsite To Support Your Claim

To support your personal injury claim against a department store, you will need to gather some evidence on the scene. If possible, get photos of the accident scene and of the injuries that you suffered in the slip and fall in a department store. Check to see if there were any witnesses and ask them to provide written statements that indicate what happened, how it happened, and the injuries that you suffered. Ask them to include their names and contact information. Check to see if the incident could have been caught on surveillance video, and if that is the case, that video may be used as evidence to support your claim against the retailer. The more evidence that you have, the more likely you are to have a successful claim.

You will need to gather all the other supporting documentation that you can to show the extent of your injuries and how you suffered losses from your slip and fall at the department store. Be sure to gather up all your medical bills, medical records, and proof of lost wages and missed work. You must show all the damages you suffered of both an economic and non-economic nature. The more evidence that you can provide, the more likely you are to succeed with your claim.

Estimating The Compensation For Your Slip And Fall Claim

If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall at a store, your personal injury attorney will help you calculate the value of your personal injury claim so you may recover compensation for your damages. Here are some things that you will need to add up to determine the value of your claim.

  • Medical bills – all medical costs, including doctor visits, labs, hospital visits, prescriptions, therapy, and other devices
  • Future medical care that your injury may require to treat your condition
  • Lost work and missed wages plus any future missed work
  • Also, consider if you will be able to return to the same job or if you must take a lower paying position

Of course, the more your medical expenses total and the longer you are off work, the more your settlement will total. You will want to claim all your damages in your personal injury claim. Here are some of the more common damages claimed in such accident situations:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Long-term or permanent disability
  • Mental anguish and emotional trauma

Your personal injury lawyer will help you gather up all the supporting documentation to help you show your damages and recover compensation for your losses. Personal injury lawyers will not require upfront compensation, but instead, take cases on the contingency basis which means that your lawyer will not get paid until you win your claim and are compensated through a judgment or a settlement. Of course, there is no set settlement, and the value of your claim may vary significantly based on the way the accident happened, the extent of your injuries, and the lasting effects of your injuries as well as the costs of your medical treatment and your lost wages.

According to The Pennsylvania Record, a woman and her husband sued Big Lots, alleging that she was injured after slipping and falling on a wet floor at a Philadelphia-area Big Lots store. The woman said she suffered “severe and permanent injuries” because the store allowed the floor to remain wet near the restrooms in the front of the store. The victim’s husband claimed that the accident affected his relationship with his wife.

The plaintiffs were seeking $150,000 through the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The matter was eventually dismissed.

How An Attorney Can Help

If you’ve been injured at Big Lots, or any other store, and believe that you may deserve compensation from the store, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will help you through the claims process and, in many cases, may agree not to be paid unless you win your case.

With the help of an accident injury attorney, you are much more likely to have a successful personal injury claim and recover a fair settlement from a large department store. If you have been injured in a slip and fall at a Big Lots store, schedule a free case review today, so you can make sure your claim gets underway in a timely manner and that you may recover the compensation that your claim may be entitled to.

*The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Big Lots, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.

Case taken from PACER ( File number is Case 2:15-cv-03364-SD from the Pennsylvania Eastern District Court