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Can You Recover Compensation from a Store if You Are Injured?

The spill on aisle four was never mopped up. In your haste to grab couscous for your dinner party, you step directly into the substance. You fall sideways, landing directly on your shoulder. You are now faced with surgeries and months of physical therapy. Your physician informs you that you will unlikely be able to return to work for six months.

Unfortunately, this scenario takes place far too often. In this blog, our Buffalo slip and fall lawyers go over the duty that a store owner owes to its customers and what circumstances could impact your ability to be fairly compensated.

Duty of Care

Store owners and all landowners have an obligation to keep their property safe from defects for those who use it. A property owner or occupier’s duty to keep a property in “reasonably safe condition” was established in Basso v. Miller.

According to New York law, visitors can be classified as any of the following:

  • Invitees: Anyone who was explicitly invited onto a property is considered an invitee. Invitees are usually on a property for business purposes. Store owners owe invitees the highest duty of care. Store patrons fall into this category.
  • Licensees: A secondary level of care is owed to licensees. Usually a social guest, landowners and occupiers should make licensees aware of any hazards on the property.
  • Trespassers: A trespasser is someone who does not have permission to be on the property. Under New York law, a property owner owes no duty to a trespasser except to not willfully or intentionally harm the trespasser.

To find an owner negligent, there must be evidence that the person was aware of the hazards but did not remedy them.

What If I Could Have Avoided Being Injured?

If you fall in a store, you may have a slip and fall claim against the store owner, the business itself, or potentially both. Given the introductory example, you must provide evidence showing that it would have been impossible to see the spill. If it was possible to see the spill and you missed it, your award may be drastically reduced.

Gathering Evidence

The most important thing you can do following a slip and fall in a store is to gather relevant evidence. Evidence may include the following:

Video Surveillance

Security cameras are used to see patrons’ whereabouts as they move about a store. Not all security cameras record footage, but if you can get your hands on video surveillance, this could show if someone knew about the spill or other hazardous conditions.

Eyewitnesses

If someone saw you fall, the individual could provide testimony. An eyewitness can provide insight into whether or not the spill was visible, how slippery it appeared, and how fast you were walking. This testimony could corroborate your story, helping to support your claim.

Speak with a Buffalo NY Premises Liability Lawyer Immediately

If you suffered injuries as a store patron, our legal team is ready to help. To speak with a Buffalo premises liability lawyer, do not hesitate to contact our office. To schedule your complimentary consultation, we can be reached by calling (716) 356-4432 or by completing our online contact form.