If You Fall At The Mall, Who Is Responsible?
BY GEORGE M. STARK, P.A.
A common misconception is that store owners are responsible for injuries to customers on their premises. Generally, the responsibility of a store owner for injuries depends on the status of the injured person, i.e., the right of the injured person to be on the premises and the conduct of the store owner… did the store owner do something or fail to do something that caused an injury to the customer?
Thus, the store owner is responsible for injuries to customers who trip and fall on the premises if they or their employees create a dangerous condition that causes an injury to a customer such as mopping floors and not displaying a wet floor sign, creating trip hazards, or violating building and safety codes. The store owner is not responsible for injuries to customers that are hurt through no fault of the store owner or their employees.
The foundation of one’s right to pursue an injury claim is based on the common law principle that one may pursue a claim against a per-son or company for their failure to exercise reasonable care or “negligence.”
Under our laws, if one is hurt through no fault of their own, justice is served by permitting the injured person to be made “whole” by exercising their right to obtain compensation for their injuries and related expenses resulting from the store owner’s “negligence.”
Recent changes in Florida law have placed the burden on the injured customer to establish that the store owner was negligent in order to obtain compensation. Furthermore, the customer’s own negligence will be considered, and the compensation that they might have otherwise received for their injuries will be reduced by their percentage of responsibility or “comparative negligence.”
Thus, if a customer is injured when shopping at the mall, that does not mean the store owner is responsible for the customer’s injuries.