As premises liability lawyers, we know that there are thousands of injuries in shopping centers all around the country. Many of these centers are large, enclosed spaces with numerous stores and shops and others are outside, but still part of a singular mall space and ownership. These malls are usually operated by corporations. Those corporations may likely be held accountable if you were injured on their property.
Corporations rent the space to all the shops in their mall but are still responsible for the safety of the shoppers in and around the mall itself. This liability covers keeping the interior of the mall safe, clean, and free of possible hazards, but may also extend to the parking lot surrounding and possibly land adjacent to the mall. The mall owners (whether private or corporate) may also have a part in the liability of the rented stores themselves.
The rental store owners also have a responsibility to provide their customers with a safe, hazard-free area to shop in. They also may have to carry liability insurance, which would help to protect them against personal injury suits involving their store. It may be also possible, that outside companies do work at the mall, and that your accident was due to their negligence, especially if they were not doing their job correctly.
It is very expensive for mall and store owners to keep up with the maintenance, repairs, and security needed to protect their shoppers and to avoid lawsuits. The added security of cameras and other high-tech equipment needed for their shoppers’ safety (in and around the mall) has added to this cost.
However, you and your personal injury attorney should know that the mall and business owners, and most all outside companies that service them, have more than adequate insurance. You may also begin to see that a personal injury suit brought about by an accident in (or around) a mall may have multiple defendants.
You certainly can sue for the expenses you need to recover, lost wages, and more, but these cases can become very complex and may involve more than one corporation or owner.
What Kind of Accidents Might a Mall Be Liable For?
The following are some of the most common mall accidents:
- Faulty escalators can have misaligned handrails, non-synced steps, broken flooring at entrances and exits, and sudden stops. A sudden stop, causing you to fall down the escalator can result in a profoundly serious injury.
- Slip and falls are usually the most common accident at a mall and can be caused by poorly maintained walkways, items dropped on the floor, spilled liquids, etc.
- Falling debris inside the mall also occurs. These can be large enclosed spaces with fixtures, signs, and all types of hanging advertisements. These can come loose and fall and harm you and others.
- Trampling sounds a bit harsh, but is a more common accident in a mall than you might think. Bad crowd control during large sale days such as Black Friday can be a major cause for these types of injuries.
- Assaults and muggings also occur in and outside of the mall. Even with enhanced security, these types of injury-causing crimes occur far too often.
Depending on the exact circumstances of your accident, you and your personal injury lawyer will determine the cause of your injury, where it occurred, and who should be sued for damages, and in what order of responsibility.
How Do I Determine Who is Responsible for My Injuries?
In any accident you may have, getting the proper medical treatment is your first and foremost concern. Many accidents in a mall can result in serious injury, that may take months to years to fully recover from. So medical expenses mount up, lost wages can occur, even long-term physical therapy or care may be needed. So never take your injuries lightly.
By getting the proper medical treatment and with a proper diagnosis of your injury, you and your personal injury attorney can best determine who to sue for the compensation needed. As a general overview of how to look at these cases:
If you are hurt in a common area, usually the management company or the mall owner would be liable. They may have been negligent in their repairs and another company may have not done the work correctly.
If you are injured in a retail store, then the first defendant would likely be the store owner or parent company. The shopping mall itself may not be involved, but might also be a co-defendant.
The manufacturer of faulty equipment could also be sued. A possible engineering fault or neglected maintenance issue would put them at the top of the liability list.
Even private individuals can be liable if they contributed or helped to cause you injury.
So again, do not ever underestimate the complexity of these lawsuits. A personal injury attorney will help guide you through your case from the beginning to the hopefully successful conclusion.
How Do I Prove Fault for My Injuries?
There are many state and federal laws (and rules) that mall and retails store owners must follow. The mall owner has a responsibility to attempt to provide their shoppers with a safe, hazard-free space in which to shop.
It does not mean, however, that they are liable for every accident that occurs in or around their mall or stores. The mall and store owners have a responsibility to protect their patrons from foreseeable accidents. The mall, shop owners, and their insurance companies will have lawyers that will possibly attempt to imply that your injury was unforeseeable and therefore they are not responsible. Do not allow this to happen, your experienced premises liability attorney will represent all aspects of your case and fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve.