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Shopping Mall Slips and Falls

Slip and fall accidents often occur in and around shopping malls in the Los Angeles area. When slips and falls happen at a mall, it can be difficult to know who may be liable for your injuries. Who is responsible when a shopper slips and falls at, for instance, The Grove or Santa Monica Place? The answer to that question depends upon where exactly you fell—were you inside a store or were you walking on general mall property?—and whether you did anything to contribute to the accident.

When slips and falls do happen at shopping malls in Los Angeles, it is extremely important to discuss your case with an experienced California premises liability lawyer to learn more about filing a claim for compensation.

Getting the Facts About Slips and Falls at Los Angeles Shopping Malls

How often do slip and fall accidents happen at shopping malls in Los Angeles? And are some shoppers or store employees at greater risk of getting hurt in a slip and fall than others? A fact sheet from the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) provides some of the following statistics about slips and falls:

  • Slip and fall accidents result in more than one million visits to emergency departments every year;
  • Both men and women experience slips and falls, but when it comes to slip and fall accidents that happen at work, men sustain injuries in these accidents more often (11 percent) than do women (5 percent);
  • Flooring materials are a common cause of slips and falls;
  • Older people are at especially high risk of sustaining a severe or life-threatening injury in a slip and fall accident;
  • Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for people aged 85 and older, and they are the second-leading cause of injury-related death for those aged 65-84;
  • Fractures are the most common injury sustained in slips and falls, while other injuries include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), back injuries, neck injuries, sprains, strains, bruises, and lacerations; and
  • More than 20 percent of all slips and falls result in the injury victim missing more than a month of work due to injuries.

Whether you are shopping at a local mall or are working at a shopping mall in the Los Angeles area, it is important to know that you should not be responsible for the injuries you sustain in a slip and fall accident caused by another party’s negligence. Store managers and shopping mall owners have a duty to consumers and to employees to maintain the premises in such a way so that slips and falls do not happen. When a slip and fall accident does result in an injury, it is important to discuss your options with a premises liability attorney in Los Angeles.

Shopping Mall Accidents and Premises Liability Law in California

When an individual gets hurt on another party’s property, what kind of lawsuit might that individual file? Premises liability law is an area of the law that is part of the broader field known as personal injury law. Under California law, property owners (as well as parties that lease property) have a duty to maintain their property in such a way as to prevent people from getting hurt on it. In the event that a property owner or manager cannot immediately repair a problem on the property, then she or he has a duty to warn people about the danger.

For example, at a shopping mall, a store owner has a duty to maintain the premises to prevent shoppers from getting hurt inside the store. You might imagine that you are inside the Williams-Sonoma kitchen supply store at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks. Another customer who was in the store previously knocked some jars of sauce off the shelf, and they broke on the floor. After the jars broke, they created a noticeable liquid spill on the floor of the store. As you might imagine, this could be a serious slip and fall hazard. The store has a duty to take enough care to notice the spill and to clean it up before any shoppers inside the store get hurt in a slip and fall accident. If the store does not clean up the liquid spill in a reasonable time, then it may be liable in a slip and fall lawsuit.

What happens if there is a slip and fall outside a store but within the space of a shopping mall? For instance, imagine you are at Westfield Century City, an outdoor shopping mall like many others in the Los Angeles area. Although it does not rain frequently in Southern California, let’s say that it starts raining outside, and the walkways become very slick. In some cases, the owner of the shopping mall property may be responsible in the event that you slip and fall on one of the walkways. An experienced Los Angeles premises liability lawyer can talk to you about filing a claim for compensation.

What Do I Need to Prove to Win a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?

Depending upon where your slip and fall happened and what caused it, you may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit to obtain compensation for your injuries. In some cases, a store owner may be liable. In other situations, the shopping mall property owner might be responsible. Regardless, a successful slip and fall lawsuit will require a plaintiff to prove the following elements, which are outlined in the California Civil Jury Instructions:

  • Defendant owned, leased, occupied, or otherwise controlled the property where the slip and fall occurred;
  • Defendant was negligent in the use of maintenance of the property where the slip and fall accident happened;
  • Plaintiff was harmed; and
  • Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm.

What is involved in proving negligence? California law specifies that negligence in a premises liability lawsuit exists when a defendant fails to “exercise ordinary care in the management of such premises in order to avoid exposing persons to an unreasonable risk of harm.”

Contact a Los Angeles Slip and Fall Lawyer

Did you sustain injuries in a slip and fall accident at a shopping mall in Southern California? You may be able to file a lawsuit. An experienced Los Angeles slip and fall accident lawyer can assist with your case. Contact Fisher & Talwar to learn more about how we can help with your premises liability claim.