The holiday season sends lots of people to stores to shop for gifts and decorations. Unfortunately, some of those people visiting stores are likely to be hurt while shopping. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates there are around 250 people injured every single day during the holiday season. If a store fails to maintain its premises in a safe way, the store could be responsible for some of those injuries happening to customers.
Stores who open their doors to the public have certain obligations. A body of law called premises liability law determines exactly what those obligations are. Since a store invites people in for commercial purposes, the store has a basic obligation to make the premises safe.
This means that routine inspections of the property should be done to see if there are any hazardous conditions that could endanger the customers to the store. If a hazard is identified, the store owner has to correct the problem so it is no longer a risk. Alternatively, the store owner could warn visitors about the dangerous condition, especially if the problem cannot be resolved easily.
When a store owner doesn't keep the premises maintained properly, visitors could be hurt. If this happens, those visitors can pursue a claim for compensation from the shop. The visitor who was injured would have to prove the store owner's negligence in maintaining the property to acceptable standards was the direct cause of the personal injury which was sustained by the accident victim.
There are lots of different ways that stores could become responsible for hazardous conditions over the holidays. There are clear-cut and obvious issues that arise, such as if a store knowingly allows inventory and debris to clutter the aisles and this inventory causes the shopper to trip or the inventory falls onto the shopper's head.
There are also situations where it becomes more of a tricky question as to whether the shop is responsible for an injury that occurs or not. For example, there are tragic occurrences where someone gets hurt while shopping for the holidays because the shopper is robbed by a thief who wants to steal their holiday packages. If this type of violent act happens while a consumer is shopping, the store where the incident occurred actually could be held responsible for the violence... if it was found the store was negligent in security based on the risk of robbery that existed.
If a victim of an injury in a store wants to pursue a claim after getting hurt while holiday shopping, it will be up to the victim to file a civil lawsuit and to prove the store owner was unreasonably negligent and thus should be made to pay damages for the injuries that were endured.