Home improvement stores can prove to be dangerous places to shop if you are not paying attention. There are many large, heavy, and haphazardly placed items around the store.
If you are hurt in a slip and fall scenario in a home improvement store, such as Lowe's, you can file a personal injury claim to help make up for your pain and suffering, lost work and wages, and medical bills.
Winning Personal Injury Claims Against Home Improvement Stores
Perhaps the best way to improve your chances of receiving compensation is by talking to personal injury attorney about your case. Attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that you will only have to pay them if you win your case.
If the problem has been there long enough that the store should have known about it, then they are breaching their duty or responsibility by not taking care of it. As an example, if there is a spill on the floor and it has been there for an hour and two employees have walked past it, then they have had enough time to take care of the problem.
If there is a spill and someone comes along five minutes later and falls, then there may not have been enough time to realize there was a spill and then it may not have been a negligent act.
It would be difficult – if not impossible – to prove that the hazard was created and then the injury happened right away that it was caused by negligence. As an example, if oil was spilled and then 30 minutes later, you come in the door and slip on it then fall and break your ankle, you may be able to successfully argue that the employees were negligent and that their negligence by breaching their duty caused your fall and led to your injuries.
On the other hand, if a can of oil is spilled then 30 seconds or a minute later you come around the corner and fall, then there wasn’t enough time for an employee there to be aware of the situation and you will most likely not succeed with a personal injury claim against them.
Slip and Falls At Home Improvement Stores
Lowe's, like all other home improvement stores, is required by law to maintain safe and secure premises for customers. There are usually guidelines in the employee handbooks for big companies that outline how to ensure a safe shopping experience, such as:
- Routinely cleaning floors
- Regularly checking the store for spills and fallen merchandise
- Putting out hazard signs warning of slippery floors or potentially dangerous conditions
- Maintaining proper lighting
Potential Hazards That Could Occur
There are still possible scenarios in which a customer may be injured in a slip and fall accident. These situations can include:
- Slipping on a spilled can of paint or other industrial liquid
- Tripping on fallen lumber, tiles, or other home improvement items
- Falling over a ladder, dolly, cart, or a merchandise lift
- Tripping over a floor mat not properly placed
- Slipping on water spilled in the garden and plant section
- Slipping on rain, snow, or ice that has been tracked inside of the store’s entrance
Filing A Claim for A Slip And Fall Claim
When you are injured at a home improvement store, such as Lowe’s, there are some steps that you need to take to help the success of you claim. These include:
- Reporting your slip and fall to a manager or other employee
- Getting a slip and fall report completed by the manager
- Seeking medical attention right away
- Continuing to receive treatment for your injuries from the slip and fall
- Get photos of the incident
- Ask for store footage of the incident
- Speak with witnesses and gather their contact information
- Save copies of medical documents and invoices
- Track missed wages
- Speak with a personal injury attorney
- Gather all evidence needed for your claim
Evidence You Need
To have a successful personal injury claim, you will need to have supporting documentation and evidence for your claim. If you are physically able to do so, you should get photos of the accident scene.
This will help you show where you fell, how you fell, and where you fell. Also, ask any witnesses to provide written statements regarding what they saw. Ask them to be very specific. Get the names of any witnesses and include their contact details in case you need additional information.
Check to see if there is a surveillance camera in the area. Odds are that a surveillance camera either caught all or part of your accident.
A camera could also be used to determine how long the hazard existed before you fell and can help prove that there was enough time for the store to take care of the problem. Your attorney can subpoena the surveillance video through the Freedom of Information Act, and ask that it be made available for viewing as evidence in your slip and fall claim against Lowe's, or any hardware store.
Get Medical Care
Be sure to establish medical care right away. You will want to keep records, including medical bills and medical records to use as supporting evidence. The more documentation that you can provide, the more likely you are to succeed with your personal injury claim after a slip and fall.
Get photos of any visible injuries and be sure to keep copies of medical excuses. Document missed work and lost wages, so you can ask to be reimbursed for those lost earnings.
Maintain Medical Evidence
You will want to be sure to get documentation from your treating physician that indicates the severity of your injuries and if you will need medical care in the future. You will want to make sure you are reimbursed for any future medical expenses and future loss of earnings as well.
When you are itemizing your losses, remember to include all your medical expenses, such as physician visits, hospitalization, x-rays and any testing, medical devices, prescriptions, physical therapy, and so forth.
Track Missed Wages
If you are out of work due to your injures from your slip and fall at Lowe’s, or any other store, you should track your missed wages. Copies of your paystubs and time sheets can help calculate exactly how much you’re missing in wages. This can then be factored into your settlement.
Settling The Claim
Your personal injury attorney will know when it is best to settle your claim. While many claims are settled out of court, there are different timeframes for resolving the matter.
If you have a serious injury that will affect you in the future, your attorney will want to make sure that it has been fully assessed and that the long-term impact is considered when the settlement is being reached. You want to make sure your past, present, and future losses are covered – both medically and earnings wise.
As an example, if you have to switch professions and you will not earn as much, that should be pointed out and the difference in compensation should be asked for as part of your settlement. Your lawyer may know how to calculate your losses and determine the best way to proceed with your claim, working to see that you get fairly compensated for the damages that you suffered when you fell because of negligence.
A demand letter will be sent to show that you suffered injuries and that you are holding them liable for your damages. That will start the negotiations and will allow you to provide evidence that shows Lowe’s, or any hardware store they are liable, why they are liable, and what supporting documentation that you have to show the injuries you suffered resulted because of a slip and fall on their property.
How to Settle Your Claim
If you wish to settle your personal injury claim, there are a couple of things you need to know first. Usually when a personal injury case gets settled is when the insurance companies become involved. When your claim gets negotiated, damages are calculated. Damages that you could negotiate are lost wages, medical expenses and any future expenses you may need that resulted from your slip and fall.
When you believe you have calculated all the damages related to your case, you will send a settlement offer to the negligent store. After, the store could accept the settlement offer you propose to them or counter with their own.
If you wish to settle your claim slip and fall claim and receive a settlement, speak with a personal injury attorney first.
Why You Should Consult An Attorney
You will want to enlist the help of a personal injury attorney who handles slip and fall cases in your area. A personal injury lawyer can take your case on a contingency basis, which means that he or she will not be paid until you win your claim and recover compensation. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to share the details of your slip and fall with a law firm who handles personal injury cases in your area.
The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against Lowe's, or any other party, you may not be entitled to any compensation.