Falling in a StoreApril 10, 2022
When you fall in a store such as a supermarket or coffee shop and sustain injuries, there are a number of factors that could impact your right to recover fair compensation.
First and foremost is the evidence you have to prove that you fell and the reason for the fall itself. Where you can, it is vital to get photos of a spill or object lying on the floor and contact information for any witnesses. Although some stores have security cameras which capture the fall and the reason for it, unscrupulous owners could erase the recording and try to clean up the mess before you can document it yourself. Smart phones are great for capturing photos of spills and other hazards, or you can buy a disposable camera at the store and take pictures that way.
Under the Ontario Occupiers’ Liability Act, owners and employees who work under them have a legal duty to take reasonable care to ensure that persons and property entering the store are safe. That includes the need to perform such simple tasks as putting up “Wet Floor” signs, cleaning up spills as quickly as possible, and checking the premises regularly to ensure they are safe.
Many stores will keep records of employees’ walk-throughs of the premises, where they note clean floors, the absence of obstructions, etc. These are often referred to as “sweep logs” and can be very harmful to a claim for compensation unless there is some other record to show that the owner or employees were in fact not careful. Such helpful evidence includes a photo of a large spill that looks as if it has been there for some time, or security video showing when the spill arose and that no employee has seen it or done anything about it for a long time.
Remember, a store owner or employee is only expected to take “reasonable” care to prevent hazards that could cause injury. A person may have a hard time getting compensation if a spill happens a second before their fall, because the store’s employees cannot possibly act quick enough to prevent it.
Many stores will interview injured customers and create an “Incident Report”. These can often be self-serving for the store if an injured customer is not careful to list all of his or her complaints right away, or to leave answers open-ended so that a store’s insurer can’t rely on the list as a complete list of injuries later (i.e. It is better to say “So far, only my back is hurting, but I’m still kind of in shock” rather than “I think I’m okay”). You should insist on seeing, correcting and obtaining a copy of the Incident Report before leaving the store.
It is also helpful to ask for immediate medical assistance if you are clearly injured or, at the very least, to go see your doctor within a day. Too many injury claims are frustrated by people who are too embarrassed and don’t want to make a fuss until they realize, much later, how badly hurt they really are and can’t easily explain the gap in time between a fall and seeking any medical attention.
In short, if you fall in a store and injure yourself, it is important not only to obtain as much evidence as you can, such as photographs and witness information, but also to immediately seek medical attention and then contact a competent and experienced lawyer who will notify the store, ensure that security camera evidence and store records are preserved and not tampered with, and speak with anybody with knowledge of the incident while it is still fresh in their minds.
Our firm has decades of experience in this any other areas and will handle your claim with the utmost competency and professionalism to maximize your recovery. Learn more about how a lawyer can get you the compensation and medical care you deserve.
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