Shoppers and patrons entering a store’s premises can reasonably expect a safe experience. Unless a business makes it clear you cannot enter the premises, you may file a lawsuit for injuries caused by a potential hazard.
As reported by Loss Prevention Magazine, serious customer hazards include wet floors, clutter and obstructions in aisles. Piles of boxes, stationary equipment and falling items can also create a dangerous environment.
Store owner’s duty to fix or repair visible problem areas
Because business owners or managers know customers regularly visit the store, they owe a duty of care to protect shoppers from harm. The duty also extends to a store’s employees, who may have responsibility for checking and clearing aisles from obstruction.
When workers cannot immediately fix a hazard, the store must provide customers with a noticeable warning. Yellow caution tape, for example, warns you to keep away from an area that poses a risk. If an employee fails to do so, the store’s owner may face liability for an accident.
Minnesota’s comparative fault statute
An accident at a store that causes you serious injuries may require a lawsuit to recover. As noted by the Minnesota Legislature’s website, a business owner may attempt a defense by claiming that you contributed to your injuries. Evidence such as surveillance camera footage may, for example, show you talking on the phone and that you failed to walk around a clearly visible spill.
Even if you partially contributed to a mishap while in a store, the owner owes a duty to maintain safe premises. Your injuries may not have occurred but for an employee who neglected to clean up a wet floor. The court may award damages if you slip and fall. If the owner, however, proves some of what occurred was your fault, the judge may reduce the damages by that percentage.