Visiting a store would not seem to be a risky venture. While the holidays are in full swing, shoppers flock to their favorite store, assuming that the most frustration they will experience is a crowded parking lot, busy stores, and a lack of inventory in those establishments. At worst, the most eventful occurrence will be actually finding that trending and hard-to-find gift item.
What they do not account for is a serious accident that could not only impact their enjoyment of the season but also leave them with permanent injuries.
Premises liability lawsuits skyrocket
$50 billion annually is the price tag when it comes to recovering from slip-and-fall accidents. That amount does not include the millions in settlements paid to accident victims and their loved ones. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 25 percent of the nearly 900,000 injuries that kept victims away from work in 2019 were the result of these types of accidents. A typical year will see thousands injured and killed.
Meanwhile, premises liability lawsuits continue in large numbers. Last year, Costco was named in more than 200 lawsuits. Claims against Walmart saw their attorneys in court three times every day of the year, accounting for 60 percent of new slip-and-fall suits. Publix Super Markets reported close to 70,000 falls in more than 900 stores in five years.
The clarion call for significant reforms continues, starting with mandatory testing of vinyl, tile, and other types of flooring material. However, federal compulsory or industry-driven friction standards – used to determine slipperiness – are non-existent, replaced by voluntary guidelines. A 2017 report from one of the US’s largest insurers, CNA Financial Corp, claims that 50 percent of all domestic, commercial flooring fell short of an industry-standard supported by ceramic tile manufacturers.
Injuries suffered in a high-profile retail store create a “David vs. Goliath” dynamic that requires the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.