Crowded shopping malls, icy parking lots, and busy seasonal sales create a high risk for slip, trip, and fall accidents during winter.
Shopping Mall Slip and Falls
Every year, post-holiday sales send thousands of people to shopping malls for great bargains, but what they often come home with are serious injuries from sudden slip and fall accidents. The risk of injuries from slips, trips, and falls in busy shopping malls and parking lots peaks during winter more than any other time of the year. Up to 30 percent of people who suffer a shopping mall slip and fall end up with moderate to severe injuries including hand, wrists, and hip fractures, broken arms or legs, slipped discs, spinal injuries, and head trauma. Up to one-third of slip and fall victims are elderly adults who often experience life-threatening injuries or permanent disabilities.
A rise in slip and fall accidents during the post-holiday season is blamed on a number of factors:
- Large crowds of shoppers
- Busy parking lots with increased traffic
- Slippery pavement on sidewalks and parking lots
- Highly-polished, hard-surface shopping mall floors
- Spilled foods and liquids
Who’s Liable for Mall Slips, Trips, and Falls?
Most shopping malls are owned by large corporations who profit by leasing spaces to individual stores such as small boutiques, large department stores, and restaurants. While individual stores are usually responsible for keeping their store areas clean and safe for customers, safety in public areas like parking lots and walkways, elevators and escalators, and public restrooms usually fall under the responsibility of mall management. Corporate property owners are responsible for the safety of visitors from the moment they enter the parking lot.
Most slip and fall accidents that occur on public property fall under premises liability laws. If injuries are caused by owner negligence, the property owner is usually liable for damages, however proof of negligence is essential for payment on an injury claim. After a mall slip and fall injury, it’s important to report the incident to mall security and take photos of injuries at the accident scene. Regardless of the severity of the injury, a person must seek immediate medical attention and get copies of all medical expenses and records. With proper proof of injury, damages for medical bills, future medical care, lost wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering can be recovered.